A töredezett (kulturális) test írása Polcz Alaine "Asszony a fronton" című művében


  • Louise O. Vasvári Stony Brook University




In this paper I will discuss Alaine Polcz’s Asszony a fronton (1991) ‘ Woman on the Front,’ subtitled Egy fejezet az életemb?l ‘A Chapter from My Life,’ as an extreme example of self-contradictory life writing, offering a fragmented self-representation of the author’s subjectivity through the narrative itineraries of both her privatized and publicized body through the last year of the Second World War. The term life writing is a particularly useful categorization for this text, since Hungarian critics have referred to it variously, sometimes in the same article, as ‘memoir, novel, autobiographical novel, documentary novel, memorial records’(memoár, regény, önéletrajzi regény, dokumentum regény, emlékiratok). I will consider how Polcz narrativizes her identity in the two parts of her story. In the first, writing about her young married life with an abusive alcoholic husband during wartime Transylvania in 1944-45 she is unable to step outside the conventional romance plot, narrating her life in terms of the most conservative conceptualization of heterosexual femininity and wifehood, premised on self-renunciation. At the same time, she subverts her surface story of masochistic other-centeredness with manipulation of gaps and secrets, creating an ongoing tension between the concealed and revealed.

Author Biography

Louise O. Vasvári, Stony Brook University

Louise O. Vasvári, who received her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California in Berkeley, is Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and of Linguistics at Stony Brook University. She has also taught in various visiting capacities, including at the University of California, Berkeley, at the Eotvos Lorand University and at the Central European University, the University of Connecticut (Storrs), and the Université de Jules Verne (Amiens). Currently she teaches one course yearly in the linguistics department at New York University and is also Affiliated Professor in American and English Studies at the University of Szeged, Hungary. She works in medieval studies, historical and socio-linguistics, translation theory, Holocaust studies, and Hungarian Studies, all informed by gender theory within a broader framework of comparative cultural studies. She has published widely in these areas, ranging from medieval Spanish, Italian, German, English, and Hungarian, to queer theory. Related to Hungarian Cultural Studies she has published with Steven Tötösy, Imre Kertész and Holocaust Literature (Purdue UP, 2005) and Comparative Central European Holocaust Studies (Purdue UP, 2009). She has also published a monograph-length work in Hungarian on memoirs of Hungarian women survivors (Mult és Jövö, 2009).






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