10 August 2010

Discovering Hungarian Writing Discovering Hungarian Writing

Discovering a webzine called Words Without Borders, the first thing I found was an article on Writing From Hungary. After skimming it, I went to check out the fiction, because fiction is what I like - especially with my coffee. I quickly realised that, being completely unfamiliar with Hungarian literature, I should in fact read the article first. That's why I'm linking to an essay this time instead of to some fiction.

The article's author, Judith Sollosy, quickly discounts any idea that she might provide a definition of contemporary Hungarian Literature. In short, CHL is what she is pointing at when she points at it and says 'that's CHL'.

Fair enough, as far as I'm concerned. I've been around long enough to understand both the need for definitions and the reasons for avoiding the provision of them. Whatever definition you try to give in cases like this, someone is going to argue about it and the whole thing can go for years. I remember when Australian literati were arguing about whether Oz lit could only be written by Australians - a tricky notion in  a migrant community, or whether it should clearly show Australianess - another tricky notion in a migrant community with a global culture. Back then, certain of the literati believed that most Australians did not even want an Australian literature, which was bemusing to me because, coming from a rural background and therefore entering the academic world from a different perspective, the ordinary readers I knew were desperate for some Oz lit. They even passed travel books around in an effort to find something about the world they knew. Thank heavens that whole argument is now out of fashion. It was really boring.

But back to Hungary.

Sollosy has chosen fiction that, appears mainstream. Now this is an SF focused blog, so in theory I should justify my decision to put a link to it. Well, I could say the stories are sort of Gothic, or that they are sort of Magic Realism, but the truth is I simply found Sollosy's article exciting. It's exciting to think that there are writers out there who are having fun with words, doing away with traditional plot and structure, and yet getting away with it: They are being published. This gives me hope. It gives me Sense of Wonder. And that's all the excuse I need.

Judith Sollosy :Writing from Hungary: An Introduction 

No comments:

Post a Comment