Zsolt Cziganyik

Humanities Initiative Fellow
Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
Project Title: 
The utopian tradition of Hungarian literature in a social and political perspective
Project Abstract: 

This research analyses utopian and anti-utopian works of literature from Hungary, with a perspective that integrates literary criticism and hermeneutics with ideas and methods from political science and sociology. I argue that these works of utopia (in their textuality, and their histories of reception and underground circulation) provide an unprecedented glimpse into the peculiar Central European relations of the individual and the collective. The analysis of these fictional thought experiments on the organization of society should lead to a fuller understanding of Hungarian political ideology and the specifically Central European responses to social and political challenges. I argue that the current reappearance of the collectivised individual in Hungarian political ideologies (and to some extent in Eastern and Central European trends) can be better understood through the lens of utopian and anti-utopian traditions.

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