Hungarian Identity : Constancy and Change in the Father Land, Mother Tongue, and Family Lines

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Date

2014

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Authors

Hardy, Paula

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East Carolina University

Abstract

The unique history and language of the Hungarian people have created a distinct cultural identity. Although this unusual identity can be a source of great pride, it also can lead to a sense of isolation and otherness. Understanding the complexity of the Hungarian, or Magyar, identity requires an examination of the country's history, from its Eastern origins and expansion to its domination by neighboring countries. In light of this historical background, a careful reading of Hungarian author Miklos Vamos's The Book of Fathers reveals how a fictional Magyar family exemplifies the pride and despair of Hungarians over several centuries. The memoir of Hungarian-American journalist Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, in contrast, focuses on the true experiences of her family over three generations. Both works emphasize the importance of family in the shaping and transmission of Hungarian identity, acknowledging the influence of historical trauma while maintaining hope for the future of Hungary.  

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