The Contested Post-Socialist Rehabilitation of the Past: Dual Narratives in the Republishing of Tibor Mendöl’s "Introduction to Geography"


  • Zoltán Gyimesi ELTE, Budapest



Tibor Mendöl, History of Geography, Postsocialism, Narrativity, Dual Narrative


This paper aims to unravel the contextual layers of the postsocialist republishing of a prominent Hungarian geographer’s textbook originally written in the 1950s, which is considered here as a vehicle of the contested narrativity in the “big historical gap” of postsocialist Hungarian geography. Tibor Mendöl’s Introduction to Geography [Bevezetés a földrajzba] was a hybrid text written in a dual narrative: first in a traditional “age of discoveries” narrative of the previous conservative-nationalist regime, and second in the obligatory Marxist-Leninist language of the later Sovietized regime. In 1999, the two rehabilitators of the text were driven by different motivations (such as the return to a formerly glorious geographical tradition, or the selective confining of a discredited socialist past), but in both cases through a symbolic contestation of the author. This ultimately led to the arbitrarily reediting of the text.






Thematic Cluster: Space, Place, and the Making of Modern Hungary [Part I] Guest editors: S. Jobbitt and R. Győri