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Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:57:42 EDT by webmaster, 10362 views
Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD
Language and Literature paper by Lewis, Ginny (all papers)
Failure to Thrive: The Frustration of Human Flourishing in the Provincial Hungary of Móricz’s Az Isten háta mögött
When Zsigmond Móricz took it upon himself in 1911 to revive some of the themes addressed in 1856 by Gustave Flaubert in Madame Bovary, he did so not with the intention of emulating Flaubert’s by then classic novel, but rather of portraying the deplorable gap that separated the middle class of early twentieth rural Hungary from that of nineteenth-century provincial France, An investigation of the fate of Móricz’s characters in Az Isten háta mögött reveals the author’s conclusions regarding the long path that lay before Hungarian society in order to assure its bourgeoisie of the means necessary to live an acceptably good life. In fact the empty and meaningless nature of Veresné’s existence in particular seems calculated to make Flaubert’s Emma Bovary seem like more of a self-serving hedonist than a lovesick romantic. In analyzing the interactions between Móricz’s characters and their provincial environment in Az Isten háta mögött, I will show the limitations Móricz saw as informing the efforts of the provincial Hungarian middle class to “exert their own particular agency,” in spite of the increased political agency afforded the Hungarian nation as a state during the age of the Dual Monarchy. Rural life in particular reveals itself in this novel as a barren landscape of failed ambitions and wrecked hopes of anything resembling a life worth living.
Brief Professional Bio:
Professor Ginny Lewis earned her Ph.D. in Modern German Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, after earning majors in French, Art, History, and German as an undergraduate student. Lewis has written numerous articles on German, Austrian, and Hungarian Literature, as well as a study of Global Literature as a reflection of Globalization which came out in 2009 under the title Globalizing the Peasant: Access to Land and the Possibility of Self-Realization. Her research centers on rural narratives from the modern era, particularly those written in Hungary and Germany.