From the Bright Future of the Nation to the Dark Future of Mankind: Jókai and Karinthy in Hungarian Utopian Tradition


  • Zsolt Czigányik Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem, Budapest



Utopia, dystopia, Jókai, Karinthy, intentionalism


After defining utopianism Czigányik gives a brief introduction to Hungarian utopian literature. While he discusses Tariménes utazása [‘The Voyage of Tariménes’], written by György Bessenyei in 1804, the utopian scenes of Imre Madách’s Az ember tragédiája [‘The Tragedy of Man’, 1862] and Frigyes Karinthy’s short utopian piece, Utazás Faremidoba [‘Voyage to Faremido’, 1916], the bulk of the paper deals with Mór Jókai’s monumental novel, A jövő század regénye, [‘The Novel of the Century to Come’, 1872]. Jókai, who had taken an active part in the 1848 uprising, depicts in this novel a future world of an imaginary twentieth century, where Hungary has primacy within the Habsburg empire (with the emperor king being Árpád Habsburg) and the invention of the airplane (by a Hungarian) brings lasting peace, stability and prosperity to the world. Besides introducing the Hungarian utopian tradition, the paper will reflect upon the role of individuals in imagined societies and how an agency-centered narrative overwrites the essentially structuralist view of history, that usually permeates utopias.






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