Utopist with Common Sense. Self-Narration and Career Making in the Works of Ferenc Balázs

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Abstract

My study focuses on the self-narration of the young Transylvanian writer and social activist of the first part of the twentieth century, Ferenc Balázs, based on his personal correspondence and his autobiographical works. The medieval tradition of peregrination becomes a journey around the world which later will offer the ideological background of his work, and an evergoing clash between cultural traditions. Both his literary work and social achievement are characterized by premodern nostalgia for rural life mixed with utopian socialist ideas. The task of shaping a traditionalist, rural community according to modern idea becomes a token of individual achievement in his works. Balázs’s self-narration is contrasted in the memoirs of his wife and co-worker, Christine Frederiksen (The Alabaster Village), narrated from the special point of view of the stranger. Her interpretation comes to complete a story filled with complex interactions of cultural representations.

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