Politics of Memory in Andrea Tompa’s Novel "Fejtől s lábtól" [‘Head to Feet’]

Zsófia Kata Vincze


In this paper, I examine the narrative of national belonging in Andrea Tompa’s "Fejtől s lábtól" [‘Head to Feet’], a 2013 pseudo-biographical novel about two Transylvanian doctors from the 1910s. My main focus is on how micro narratives can both contradict and complement the master narratives of history that had been written within a political framework unable to process the loss of Transylvania. The life histories in Fejtől s lábtól illustrate the dynamic ethnic diversity of the Carpathian Basin and contradict the narrow Hungarian ethnic nationalist view that Transylvania is primarily or even purely Hungarian. At the same time, these biographies also provide deep insight into the personal experiences of the Hungarian historical traumas of the twentieth century, such as the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the territorial losses after World War I.


Trianon, Transylvania, Politics of Memory, Ethnic Nationalism, Hungarian Nationalism, Biography, Pseudo-Biographical Novel, Life History, Cluj, Andrea Tompa

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/ahea.2014.145

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