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Wed, 20 Apr 2011 12:02:38 EDT by admin, 140333 views
Hungarian Academy of Sciences Research Institute for Psychology
Cultural Studies paper by Borgos, Anna (all papers)
Displaced Gardens: The Friendship of Anna Lesznai and Edit Gyömrői in Emigration
Anna Lesznai met Edit Gyömrői in 1918, at the gatherings of the Sunday Circle, and their friendship lasted till the end of Lesznai’s life, despite the great geographical distance between them. In my lecture I explore the traces of their friendship and try to present some parallels and differences in their life course, circumstances and character. Lesznai and Gyömrői belonged to roughly the same generation, and they came from a more or less similar family background – assimilated Jewish middle-class/landowner families. They both came into contact and were active participants of nearly all intellectual and artistic circles of the age. Gyömrői’s career related to psychoanalysis (among many other activities), Lesznai worked in the field of literature and art. (They also wrote about each other’s works.)
The political circumstances forced both of them (especially Gyömrői) to change their places of living several times. Their 1919 emigration to Vienna and their most significant 1939 overseas emigration to the United States/Ceylon was the consequence of political and racial persecution concerned both of them. Her language, poetic and visual world, and social relationships kept especially Lesznai strongly attached to Hungary. Although Gyömrői seemed to adapt herself to the different environments and life conditions more easily, the loss of roots and language was a constant problem and pain for her, too. Their friendship represents the “brave old world” for them above all: the social and intellectual environment that both of them abandoned.
Brief Professional Bio:
Anna Borgos (1973) psychologist, women’s historian. She is a fellow at the Research Institute for Psychology, Budapest. She holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Pécs. Her research field is situated at the borderland of psychoanalysis, gender studies and literary history; she has been exploring and publishing studies on Hungarian women intellectuals of the early 20th century. She is also engaged in feminist and LGBT history and activism. Her book, Portrék a Másikról (Portraits of the Other) came out in 2007. She published a monograph with Judit Szilágyi in 2011: Nőírók és írónők. Irodalmi és női szerepek a Nyugatban (Women writers and poetesses. Literary and women’s roles in Nyugat).