Denominational Reception of Literary Modernity in Hungary Before 1920


  • Zoltán Szénási Research Center for Humanities, Institute of Literary Studies (Budapest) for the Hungarian Academy of Sciences



Religious denomination, modernity, Christian culture, Protestant literature, Catholic literature, Magyar Protestáns Irodalmi Társaság [‘The Hungarian Protestant Literary Society’], Protestáns Szemle [‘The Protestant Review’], Ottokár Prohászka


Christian denominations generally viewed the social and ideological changes that occurred throughout the nineteenth century as crises and therefore perceived modern literature as a manifestation of decadence. Due to their diverse rootedness within Hungary’s social and political life, each denomination reacted distinctively to the phenomena of the modern. This paper describes the different reactions of the Catholic and Protestant Churches and examines their social background by analyzing the denominational and literary conditions of Hungary at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. Obviously, both the Catholic and Protestant Churches needed to modernize their social and cultural institutions in order to regain their former social bases: until 1920, however, this effort yielded no valuable results, primarily because their attempts to create a denominational version of modern literature was subordinated to the requirements of religious morality and thus was not capable of achieving artistic autonomy.






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