Gábor Bednanics ( Eszterházy Károly Catholic University)


Gábor Bednanics is a professor of Eszterházy Károly Catholic University, Eger, Hungary. He was born in 1976, Budapest, received his PhD at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, 2007, and habilitated at University of Debrecen, 2013. He is interested in turn of century poetry, modernism, connections between literature and philosophy. Among multiple papers he published four books: Between speech forms (2003), Detours and dead ends (2009), Interrogating the Dubious (2012), Modern Myth and the Possibilities of Rewriting (2016).


“The Local Strives to be Global: Following, Resisting, and/or Remodeling Modernism in Hungarian Literature”

Hungarian literary Modernity was primarily in pursuit of Western tendencies. The feeling of being peripheral became a fuel to poets who sought new expressions but this feeling was connected with belatedness, inferiority, and minority. In my paper I provide two examples from Hungarian poetry around 1920s in order to make different views of Modernity visible. One of them is from the Avant-Garde experiments, namely Lajos Kassák’s view, in which he, in his Vienna immigration, had the chance to become a global participant of the Avant-Garde scenery by using an international network via letters, translations, and publications of poems, manifestos and pictures. The exile created an opportunity for him to establish such a network but also compelled him in the direction of searching new ways of expression by means of the Avant-Garde poetics. The other one is from his former objector, the Aestheticist Mihály Babits, the editor of the famous Modernist periodical Nyugat (West), who called the literature of his age as New Classicism on behalf of the influence of tradition. In his main work, The History of European Literature (1936) , he omitted the highly innovative drive of the Avant-Gardes and stated that world-literature had always have been what it was: seeking what common is in multiple national literatures. But both attempts has something in common. They tried to elaborate a Modernist way of poetry that could be understood as national belonging to international tendencies, modern as well as traditional, and global but with the constant attitude of defeatism.