The Representation of Ireland in Bertalan Szemere’s Utazás külföldön or A Journey Abroad A Study of Szemere’s Image-Forming Sources

Márta Pintér 1
  • 1 University of Pannonia (Veszprém, Hungary) English and American Studies Institute, , Veszprém, Hungary

Abstract

The present study adds to my ongoing research into Irish-Hungarian relations in the nineteenth century. As such it is concerned with Bertalan Szemere’s representation of Ireland in his travelogue Utazás külföldön [A Journey Abroad]. It approaches Szemere’s work from the perspective of the following three questions. How does Szemere’s trip to Ireland fit into the tradition of Irish-Hungarian contacts? What urged Szemere to sail over to Ireland and extend his already long and tiring tour of Europe? And finally, what factors shaped Szemere’s image of Ireland in his travel account? A preliminary study of the conditions of Szemere’s trip and his actual account of the country has led me to the hypothesis that in the process of creating his own representation of Ireland Szemere heavily relied on external sources. I seek to answer these questions by identifying the place of Szemere’s travel account in the tradition of Hungarian-Irish contacts; by relating it to other texts on Ireland by Szemere’s Hungarian contemporaries; and by comparing it to particular reports on Ireland by European travellers. My aim is to prove that Szemere’s representation of Ireland was primarily informed and moulded by German and English sources as they were transferred to Szemere by some Hungarian periodicals. My study also emphasizes the importance of further research into the interaction of Hungarian and European discourse on Ireland in the nineteenth century.

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