Nationalism and Hungarian Education Policy: Are the Literary Works of Cécile Tormay, József Nyirő, and Albert Wass Appropriate for the Hungarian School Curriculum?

Ágnes Huszár

Abstract


Recently there have been attempts in Hungary to rehabilitate authors with nationalist, anti-Semitic, and national socialist views and integrate them into Hungarian literary canon, including the suggestion that the works of Cécile Tormay, József Nyirő, and Albert Wass become compulsory school literature. Since one of the most important goals of Hungarian literary education is to reinforce a sense of Hungarian nationalism, the focus is primarily on the authors rather than their literary works and they tend to be presented as role models to students. This paper aims to show that, given that the three authors mentioned above have publicly participated in anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi activities, it would be unethical to place them in a position where they may be lauded as role models for children. It is also argued that only a small part of the literary work of these three authors can be considered aesthetically valuable while all of them had written works containing anti-Semitic and faux-historical elements. Both the authors’ choice of topic and their literary style makes them unsuitable as compulsory school literature for children.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5195/ahea.2014.140

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