"Neither grass nor tree". Image of the refugees in the Hungarian interwar novel

Sat9  Apr09:10am(10 mins)
Umney Lounge


Julia Vallasek


Starting from the end of the First Word War, after the new state borders were drawn a number of about 350-400 000 people emigrated from former Hungarian territories towards the capital of Hungary, Budapest. The precarious living conditions in the temporary shelters set up at different railway stations, the alarming situation of the incoming mass of „refugees” worried not only the authorities of the age, but also constituted an important topic of the post-war public speech in the early twenties. However the artistic representation of the refugees proved to be scarce, and the topic of the war-refugees waned from the inter-war public speech and literature as well.

My research is focused on a set of novels mostly written in the 1930-s dealing with the topic of the war-refugees and their integration in the life of the capital. Through a complex analysis of topics and symbols I attempt to answer the question: why literature proved to be unable to play its role in constructing the memory of this significant immigration wave. 

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