• Zoltán Z. VARGA
Keywords: emigration experience, life writing, East-European cultural identity, historical trauma, assimilation


The study researches interconnections between cultural identity and historical traumas in autobiographical works. The research work, the beginning of which the previous issue of Hungarológiai Közlemények has already published a paper, continued with the analysis of the two volume life writing of Otthonok (Homes), by Endre Karátson, a 1956 emigree to France with a successful university career as a professor of comparative literature, who in the meantime created his literary oeuvre in Hungarian. Karátson’s work fits both into the tradition of Hungarian memoire literature which brings to the fore social situation and historical context, and into personal life stories as an individualistic genre which depicts and records existential challenges of selfcreation. The study discovers in a unique formula the experience describing living both in a foreign country or in one’s home country, similar to that found in Márai’s work. When interpreting the autobiography, the study of Karátson’s way of holding onto, promoting and moulding the cultural awareness which he had brought with him from Hungary plays an important role, and so does the unveiling of how the value structure and behaviour patterns of the recipient French culture and society blended in through his intim personal relationships with his self-awareness.


Apter, Emily. 1994. „Comparative Exile: Competing Margins in the History of Comparative Literature”. In Comparative Literature in the Age of Multiculturalisme, szerk. Charles Bernheimer, 86–96. Boston: John Hopkins University Press.
Hites Sándor. 2011. Karátson Endre. Pozsony: Kalligram Könyvkiadó.
Karátson Endre. 2007. Otthonok. I–II. Pécs: Jelenkor.
Polouektova, Ksenia. 2009. „Is There a Place Like Home?” Jewish Narratives of Exile and Homecoming in Late Twentieth-Century East-Central Europe”. In The Exile and Return of Writers from East-Central Europe: A Compendium, szerk. John Neubauer–Borbála Zsuzsanna Török. 432–69. Berlin–New York: Walter de Gruyter.
Z. Varga Zoltán. 2017. Kulturális önazonosság, történeti trauma és személyes élettörténet közép-európai emigránsok önéletrajzaiban. Hungarológiai Közlemények 18 (3): 8–23.
30. 01. 2018.