Republishing Pre-World War II Hungarian Women Writers After the Fall of Socialism
Keywords:Banned Hungarian woman writers, communist literary censorship, literary canon, book cover designs
AbstractImmediately before and shortly after the collapse of socialism in 1989, a large number of private publishing houses were founded in Hungary. Some of them began their career by republishing the novels of selected popular Hungarian women writers of the preWorld War II era that had been banned following the Soviet occupation of the country in 1945. The lack of comprehensive literary criticism on the works of women authors drove the new publishers to rely on the so-called “oral canon” of collective memory, which had saved some of their names from oblivion. To grab the attention of prospective readers, the books selected for publication were provided with modern book cover designs, reflecting new, but still patriarchal values. After a brief overview of how prewar literature was censored after 1945, focusing on the editors’ inevitable reinterpretation of the writings of Renée Erdős, Mrs. Kosáry Lola Réz, and Anna Tutsek through book cover designs, Kádár aims in this paper to survey in what ways and how successfully the re-editions of the novels by women writers have contributed to their inclusion in the literary canon since 1989.
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