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RE: Books on Hungarian history and culture

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  • Janet Kozlay
    And I thank you in turn. I have located Kosa s “History of Hungarian Culture Vol. 1“ and Life and Tradition in Rural Hungary,“ both of which I have just
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 11, 2005
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      And I thank you in turn. I have located Kosa's “History of Hungarian Culture
      Vol. 1“ and "Life and Tradition in Rural Hungary,“ both of which I have just
      ordered in response to your recommendation for this author. I wonder if the
      first one is the same as your “Cultural History." The books I recommended
      have been enormously helpful in understanding our manuscripts (diaries and
      memoirs) written by my husband's great-grandfather in the early and mid-19th
      century. I am working on a book based on these writings which encompass
      nearly 1000 pages and which we have had translated to English from
      Hungarian. It is my intent to place the entire text on the Internet with
      annotations. This is a very long-term project, so it will not appear for a
      while, but I will certainly notify the list when it is placed. The
      perspective is not from the eyes of a peasant, but of a well-educated and
      wealthy young man who participated in the 1848-49 war and who subsequently
      immigrated to America. The bulk of the diaries and memoirs deals with his
      life in Hungary, including a trip as a teenager to visit the land of his
      Slovak ancestors, his experiences as he fled Hungary to America, through to
      his first few years here, offering insight into a time and lifestyle that
      has been virtually ignored. It is my hope that this will add to the meager
      literature available to English readers about this fascinating land.

      Janet


      -----Original Message-----
      From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf Of amiak27
      Sent: Saturday, June 11, 2005 6:38 PM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [S-R] Re: Travelogue for May 2005

      Thanks for the book recommendations Janet. I too am interested in
      history and primarily in how the people lived. I have been
      collecting books for over some 30 years now, and enjoy the communist
      era books for the different perspective and aspects of history that
      we do not cover in the west. Of course there is little about the
      old A-H history that is covered in the west!

      I may have plugged these books before, or perhaps it was on S-W. On
      my last trip through Budapest I ran across two companion books that
      are flat-out excellent. These are in English "A Cultural History of
      Hungary in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries " edited by Laszlo
      Kosa and "A Cultural History of Hungary from the Beginnings to the
      Eighteenth Century" edited by Laszlo Kosa. They cover just about
      all aspects of social life and class, and they name where the gaps
      in knowledge are rather than pretend to know. It gives a good look
      at the different strata, the changes in costume and in custom with
      time. The approach in the books does not seem to carry the old
      politics or cold war rivalry or ethnic hatred stemming from
      Trianon. It is nice to see us get past some of that.

      Ron
      PS I leave Tuesday for Budapest, Slovakia, Czechia (and a family
      wedding) and Germany. There will probably be no travelogue
      published, but I will be taking notes and using my new digital
      camera).
      --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Janet Kozlay" <kozlay@c...>
      wrote:
      > Bill, the following book is listed at abebooks.com:
      >
      > The Slavs A Cultural Historical Survey Of The Slavonic Peoples
      > Portal, Roger & Evans, Patrick ( translator )
      > Price: US$ 84.00
      > Book Description: Weidenfeld & Nicholson London 1969. 1st English
      edition
      > translated from the French. Large 8vo. xvii + (3) + 319 + (2)pp.
      Numerous
      > illustrations. Original orange cloth covers, black lettering on
      spine. Lime
      > green dw, black & grey tinted photo of labourers on hay rick on
      front, white
      > lettering, not price clipped 75s net. White eps. Covers slight
      0.2cm fading
      > along top edge of spine. Dw 1 x 2 cm loss front top edge, slight
      browning.
      > Contents original remaindered price in biro fep and bottom inside
      flap of
      > dw, else clean & tight. **. F-/ VG.
      >
      > I have not seen this book myself.
      >
      > Also, if you will concede that the peasant culture differed little
      among the
      > various regions in Central Europe, Balassa and Ortutay's Hungarian
      > Ethnography and Folklore is a treasure trove. It is also quite
      expensive,
      > but it is huge (800+ pages) and has many beautiful photos and
      illustrations.
      > Although its focus is the Hungarian-language areas, many of the
      counties of
      > Upper Hungary are covered. Some of the writing has a rather quaint
      > pro-Soviet slant (it was published in 1979), but the detailed
      scholarship is
      > astounding.
      >
      > The other book which I have found exceptional is Proper Peasants
      by Fel and
      > Hofer. It is the intensive study of a single village in Hungary,
      chosen
      > because it retained the "old ways" better than most. Although quite
      > inexpensive ($10+ at abebooks), in some ways I have found it even
      better at
      > explaining social structure than Balassa and Ortutay. Its primary
      focus is
      > the late 1800s.
      >
      > During a visit in 2002, I was struck by the fact that most of the
      > ethnographic museums in both Slovakia and Hungary concentrated on
      artifacts
      > from the late 1800s to around 1900. To them, this reflected
      the "old"
      > culture. And, indeed, it is probably true that the material
      culture,
      > customs, and folkways changed but little for hundreds of years in
      that area.
      >
      > As for the Hungarian focus on both of these books, I have learned
      through
      > this mail list that there are far more similarities in the
      folkways and
      > customs of Slovakia and Hungary than there are differences. Nearly
      all
      > references to customs, celebrations, foods, etc., are the same as
      I have
      > found described in these books. The greatest differences appear to
      relate to
      > specific customs associated with a particular religion.
      >
      > Janet






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