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Wed, 14 Oct 2015 18:59:32 EDT by webmaster, 19547 views
Cleveland State University
Language and Literature paper by Mátyás, Dénes (all papers)
Sándor Márai and the Emigration in "Funeral Oration"
There were various factors that led Sándor Márai (1900-1989) to his decision to leave his native land in 1948. Among these were the siege of Budapest, in which his apartment was also destroyed, and – primarily – the evolution of the Communist regime in Hungary. When he finally decided to emigrate, he moved first to Italy, and later settled in the United States. Nevertheless, he never quit writing, and what is more, he always kept doing so in Hungarian, even though he pledged not to publish any of his works in Hungary as long as the country was under foreign domination. This fact is already in itself a clear evidence of the deep allegiance Márai held toward his Hungarian (and bourgeois) consciousness, to his Hungarian identity, and to the Hungarian language, as much before as after his emigration. No wonder he found the preservation of these values as of great, even vital importance.
The present paper intends to analyze Sándor Márai’s "Halotti beszéd" (Funeral Oration, 1951) written when he had already left his homeland and was living in Naples, Italy, and to explore the thoughts and ideas the poem reveals concerning the emigrant’s existential situation and possible future. While doing so, it also aims to study the various, more or less hidden, cultural and literary references in Funeral Oration, as well as to offer an interpretation of their application in terms of the possibility, if any, to preserve one’s identity (Hungarian or otherwise) abroad in emigration.
Brief Professional Bio:
Dénes Mátyás works as a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Cleveland State University during the academic year 2015-‘16. He earned his Master’s degrees (American Studies, Italian Studies, Hungarian Studies Instruction for Foreigners) and PhD in Literature at the University of Szeged, Hungary. He held courses at the Central European International Studies Center and the Department of Italian Studies at the University of Szeged for years, and he was also a Visiting Assistant Lecturer (2009-‘10) at the Department of East European Studies at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”, Italy.