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HCTS Lecture by Magdolna Orosz

Jul 02, 2018

On July 12, at 6 pm, the next HCTS lecture takes place as part of the Tandem Fellowship "Conceptions of Mitteleuropa in early 20th century German, Austrian and Hungarian literature." Prof. Magdolna Orosz‘s talk is titled "'(Central) Europe' as Memory and Promise. A Quest for a Lost World by Stefan Zweig and Sándor Márai."

The diversity of Europe’s historical and spatial regions leads to manifold classifications by historians, cultural historians, or literary historians with respect to the different aspects of this region. Prof. Barbara Beßlich showed in the first Tandem Fellowship lecture in May, that the concept of "Mitteleuropa" (Middle Europe) is very ambiguous, both from a geographical as well as from a temporal point of view.

Moreover, the term itself can be used in some variations: the term "East-Central Europe," for example, can often be parallelly employed for designating the European area situated between Western and Eastern Europe. As Philipp Ther accentuates, "East-Central Europe" should rather be considered as "a specific designation in the a priori complicated East-Cental European history," which is why he argues for Moritz Csáky’s concept of "Zentraleuropa" as a cultural historical term, which should replace that of "East-Central Europe" having been a category of political science.

"Central Europe" as an intellectual focus also determines the oeuvre of two writers, i.e. of Stefan Zweig (1881–1942), and of Sándor Márai (1900–1989), both from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and who were mourning about it through their lives and in their works. This lecture aims to show some reflections of the notion of "(Central) Europe" coined in the last decades e.g. in cultural studies, and focusses also on some spatial and historical shifts in its interpretation. The analysis of some texts of Zweig and Márai should demonstrate how social, political and cultural phenomena appear in literary works showing the shock and the vanishing hope of European intellectuals in the inter-war period.

Prof. Magdolna Orosz is the professor for German Literary Studies at ELTE Institute of Germanic Studies at the Eötvös-Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary.

Prof. Barbara Beßlich is the director of the Institute of German Studies at Heidelberg University.

Together, they received a HCTS Tandem Fellowship for their research project "Conceptions of Mitteleuropa in early 20th century German, Austrian and Hungarian literature."


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  • »(Central) Europe« as Memory and Promise. A Quest for a Lost World by Stefan Zweig and Sándor Márai.

  • Sándor Márai © unknown via Wikimedia Commons

  • Stefan Zweig © Trude Fleischmann via Wikimedia Commons

  • Europe after World War One (1920/21) © Diercke