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Wed, 30 Jul 2014 06:44:53 EDT by admin, 91072 views
ELTE - BTK
Language and Literature paper by Lo Bello, Maya J. (all papers)
Observation as Action: the Holocaust Journal of Miksa Fenyő
Diaries and notes were written in every place where Jews lived under Nazi rule—ghettos, camps, hideouts, forests—by men and women of all professions. It is impossible today to assess the scope of this written material, for much was lost. Still, it seems that about 400 diaries have been traced so far—more than half of them written in Poland—and that most of the diaries published now were written by adults in the ghettos of Warsaw, Vilna and Lodz.
(Dina Porat, The Vilna Ghetto Diaries)
As someone first introduced to Holocaust literature through The Diary of Anne Frank, Dina Porat’s examination of the Vilna Ghetto diaries not only opened my eyes to the relative scarcity of extant Holocaust journals, it also underscored my already high consideration of Az elsodort ország. A journal recorded by the Hungarian author and Nyugat editor, Miksa Fenyő, this work details the author’s months in hiding during the Hungarian Holocaust, as set to paper by a vivid personality whose literary skill was only surpassed by an intimate familiarity with Hungary’s art and political scene at this time. While my lecture will draw from examinations of Polish Holocaust journals—including studies by Aharon Appelfeld, David Engel, Robert Moses Shapiro—in an attempt to place Fenyő’s journal within the broader context of narrative techniques relevant to Holocaust literature, it is my intent to interpret Fenyő’s frequent references to “active observation” through the lens of his work as an impressionistic critic for the literary journal, Nyugat. As true as it is that Holocaust diaries form an individual’s struggle to preserve a sense of self in the face of a daily destruction, I would like to pose the question of whether Holocaust narratives can only be analyzed within the constraints of then or possibly after—what about the role of before?
Brief Professional Bio:
Maya J. Lo Bello received her B.A. in Central European Studies (with a concentration in Hungarian and Polish literature) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1999. In 2012 she attained her M.A. degree in Modern Hungarian Literature and Language at Eötvös Loránd University, following completion of her thesis on the impressionistic criticism of Miksa Fenyő. Maya Lo Bello has been continuing her research of Miksa Fenyő’s role in the early Nyugat period as a PhD student of the Modern Literature Program at Eötvös Loránd University. Her doctoral advisor is the Attila József scholar, Dr. György Tverdota. She is a resident of Hungary. Other than her publications in literary history, Maya Lo Bello’s translations have appeared in Germany, Hungary and the USA.