A könyvtől az olvasóig
Protestant Teachers’ Libraries in Transdanubia in the 1820s
This study examines a thus far hardly researched aspect of Hungarian book culture: the pre-1848 history of the libraries of village schools and private libraries of teachers. Important details about these libraries are presented through the examination of the visitation reports, inventories and other sources found in the Archive of the Transdanubian Diocese of the Protestant Church, which prove that teachers did indeed possess libraries of varying size in the 1820s and 1830s.
The study distinguishes three types of teacher’s private libraries. The lowest category is the teacher’s reference library, which consisted of a dozen or two books specifically on teaching. A little more extensive is the teacher’s personal library, consisting of 25-50 volumes, mostly volumes of history, philosophy, classics and modern literary texts in addition to the pedagogical literature. Finally, an intellectual’s personal library consists of 50-100 volumes, which reflect the interests of the collector. These often contain sixteenth- and seventeenth-century books handed down through generations in the family. The majority of books published in Western Europe were brought to Hungary by students of theology studying abroad. The Enlightenment transformed the linguistic composition of the libraries: Latin, Greek and Hebrew books lost their dominance and their place was taken over by publications in modern European languages: French, German and, most importantly, Hungarian.
The Milky Way of Manuscripts: Folio Reading in the Kazinczy Bequest
The study summarises the conclusions of researching the Kazinczy Bequest. First, documents are categorised according to their structure, order and their editors’ approach. Four categories have been established. (1) In Type 1 manuscripts the authorial editing principle is not (or only fragmentarily) possible to reconstruct. (2) Type 2 manuscripts are documents which the author organised and prepared for publication, private use or for posterity. These should always be read in manuscript form. (3) Type 3 documents include manuscripts that reflect the earlier condition of the bequest, but are not autographs. (4) Type 4 documents are manuscripts which contain Kazinczy writings organised by contemporary editors, but not the author himself.
This kind of categorisation of the bequest reveals not only that writings organised by the author himself were more likely to be published in print later, but also that the characteristics of the manuscripts influence the text editions and the canonisation of the texts and, ultimately, the scholarship of literary history. Following this, the study presents a case study to illustrate an approach that takes into consideration the unique characteristics of manuscripts, such as their differences from books and their power of expression and influence on the literary canon. The author terms this approach as ‚folio reading’ in this study.
The Peritextual Analysis of Scientific and Philosophical Treatises by Ignác Martinovics
The study examines the philosophical works that Ignác Martinovics wrote in Latin, German and French from a formal-rhetorical angle. Although scholars of the Hungarian literature of the Age of Enlightenment have applied the principles of Genette and Lejeune primarily on belles lettres, this study illustrates that it is not unjustified to deploy the tool kit of peritextual rhetoric on different genres. Similarly to belles lettres, volumes of philosophical texts are also „products of the author’s creative, semantic and discursive will”, which means that it is misleading to focus on philosophical content alone, ignoring the analysis of the formal, rhetorical and medial characteristics of these publications. Readers do not read the pure text: what they hold in their hands is a book-object, the result of a number of editorial and authorial decisions. Previous information (prior to entering the text) found in these carriers of text influence their interpretation significantly. This study, accordingly, examines the texts’ language, prologues, mottoes and place of publication in relation to their content.
Reading the Book of Nature: Metaphors of Understanding at the Turn of the Eighteenth Century
This article analyses Hungarian texts about the reading and readability of the book of nature written at the turn of the eighteenth century. It focuses on concepts of the book and reading implied by this metaphor, as well as the expected strategies of understanding. In a religious context the metaphor promises direct understanding, but since this is inconsistent with the contemporary concept of reading, new figures of speech were introduced into the texts (nature as a theatre, mirror or picture).
Examining the concept of vision underlying these metaphors, the study analyses works of natural history from the era, as these are texts that exemplify the main characteristics and problems of vision metaphors outside the religious context . The analysis points out how this underlying concept of vision eliminates the possibility and promise of direct understanding.
Literature and Business: The Book Distributing Strategies of Mihály Csokonai Vitéz at the Turn of the Eighteenth Century
The study focuses on the publishing strategies of Mihály Csokonai Vitéz (1773– 1805), the most significant Hungarian poet around the turn of the eighteenth century. In his correspondence and elsewhere, Csokonai made several references to the distribution of his own books of poetry, which suggest the extent to which Csokonai regarded the publication of his volumes as a business enterprise. Csokonai funded the publication of his books himself while seeking support from sponsors, however, he considered his income from his books as an investment in his forthcoming publications rather than personal income. For him publishing poetry was never a way to earn one’s living. The sporadic surviving evidence about publishing reveals that Csokonai’s most important readership was located around the two main centres of Protestant education and the Protestant market towns of the Great Plain. This pattern more or less corresponds to the area of the subsequent Csokonai cult. The study furthermore presents specific examples to illustrate ways to analyse the practice of writing, and the related social roles and prestige, in the study of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature.
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