Narrative Style and Gender Relations in the Creative Relationship of Miklós Mészöly and Alaine Polcz


  • Dávid Szolláth



Polcz Alaine, Miklós Mészöly, authorship, creative relationship, gender, writer’s wife, woman writer, nouveau roman, Accurate Stories on the Road, Death of an Athlete, One Woman in the War


As a couple, Miklós Mészöly (1921-2001) and Alaine Polcz (1922-2007) have a special status in Hungarian literature. Mészöly is one of the most important figures of postwar Hungarian fiction. His wife, Polcz, became an author at the age of sixty-nine when her first book, a wartime memoir entitled  Asszony a fronton [1991, ‘One Woman in the War’] (Polcz 2005, 2002b), gained attention. Although she has been generally regarded only as an írófeleség [‘a writer’s wife’]  (see Borgos 2007), by the turn of the century she eventually became more popular than her husband. This paper focuses on a novel by Mészöly, Pontos történetek, útközben [1970, ‘Accurate Stories on the Road’], that was based on Polcz’s tape recorded narration of her journeys mostly to Transylvania. My analysis poses two questions; the first regards the issues of style and narration, while the second examines the topic of gender. In other words, this approach to Mészöly’s novel aims to grasp the characteristics of the narrative style of Mészöly by comparing his transcription to the text recorded on the tape made by Polcz. How was it possible for the husband to publish a novel exclusively under his own name from his wife’s “raw material”?






Thematic Cluster: On Hungarian Historical, Literary and Filmic Constructions of Gender. Guest Editor: Enikő Bollobás