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Mon, 15 Feb 2010 12:11:51 EST by admin, 113903 views
Language and Literature paper by Várdy, Huszár Ágnes (all papers)
Hungarian-American Literature in the Age of Dualism and the Interwar Years
During the four decades before World War I nearly two million Hungarian citizens, among them about 650,000 Magyars, emigrated to the United States. They were part of the so-called “great economic immigration” whose members left their homeland in search of a more promising future. Although often mistreated and exploited at home, upon arrival they soon developed a keen longing for their homeland. This longing became one of the main features of their cultural activities and of their literature. The other dominant feature of that literature was the description of the harshness of life in the coal mines, steel plants, and smoke-belching factories of America, including the frequent industrial accidents that resulted in the death of hundreds of immigrants every year.
This Hungarian-American poetry was not a high quality literature, but it was close to the immigrants. It expressed in a simple way their pains and sufferings, as well as their hopes for a better future. Most of these poets -- whose life was equally harsh -- continued to write even in the period between the two world wars. But after the First World War their original themes were joined by the pain they felt at Hungary’s dismemberment and of the transfer of their immediate homelands and villages to the newly created “successor states” created by the Treaty of Trianon. This poetry of interwar years is filled with the bemoaning of this dismemberment, which they viewed as a national tragedy on par with the consequences of the Battle of Mohács in 1526.
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