The Travelogues of Gyula Illyés and Lajos Nagy on Their Visit to the Soviet Union

Peter Pastor

Abstract


The Hungarian populist writers Gyula Illyés and Lajos Nagy visited the Soviet Union together during the summer of 1934 as guests of the Union of Soviet Writers. Upon their return to Hungary, Illyés and Nagy published their impressions in separate travelogues.Although they both stressed that they strived for objectivity in their travel reports, they did not fully succeed in their efforts. Their perspectives were colored by a feeling of cultural superiority carried over from their experiences in the Hungary of the 1930s. Their writing was also tainted with anti-Semitism, as evidenced by their reflections on the life of Jews in Russia and Ukraine. Although their hosts took them to model institutions on a government-designed grand tour, they were not won over to the communist cause and failed to become fellow travelers.

Keywords


Gyula Illyés, Lajos Nagy, Georges Duhamel, Luc Durtain, travel in the USSR, Russian Revolution, communism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/ahea.2018.320

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Copyright (c) 2018 Peter Pastor

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