Hungarian Studies Newsletter, 1982 (10. évfolyam, 31-34. szám)

1982 / 31-32. szám

Alt / VJ J AMGRICAN HUNGARIAN FOUNDATION HUNGARIAN STUDIES NEWSLETTER EDITOR'S CORNER Hungarian studies have come a long way. When comparing the contemporary scene with that of 15 or 20 years ago, one cannot fail but recognize an increase in the volume of publications, in the number of persons involved, and even more so, a marked im­provement in the quality of scholarship. A trend toward in­stitutionalization seems to have created a more permanent structure and some medium-range planning. The two Hungarian Chairs, one at Indiana University, endowed with a major gift from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; the other at the U. of Toronto, sponsored by the Canadian public at large; together with the Institute on East Central Europe at Columbia U., offer academic settings of excellence, including copiously specialized library collections and stimulating intellectual climates enhanced by the presence of specialists, several of whom are visiting scholars from Hungary. As one said recently: “The Hungarian collection of your university library is so thorough, that I have been able to continue my work where I left it off in Budapest last week.” These optimistic observations do not act to diminish the continuing deficiencies of Hungarian studies in North America. Concern about the virtual absence of modern Hungarian language courses in major metropolitan and academic centers is one of them. The summer program offered at Ada, Ohio (previously at Portland, Oregon) isthe only permanent intensive language course available outside those offered by the Hungarian Chairs. Most other efforts, no matter how noble in motivation, have been short lived, sporadic and not highly efficient responses to a stated local need. The development of a competent Hungarian language learning program with such methodology as used by the Defense Language Institute or the Foreign Service Institute, with written texts and taped exercises which could be offered and used anywhere in the country, has been long overdue for many years. Creation of a specialized research library in a location central to national interest and holding books so specialized as to be beyond the acquisition scope of university libraries and the Library of Congress is another task. The American Hungarian Foundation has become a repository of such books throughout its existence, but lack of immediate space and funds has kept much of this invaluable material, although cataloged, in crates and boxes. Many hundreds of volumes are unique, inasmuch as they are not available anywhere else in the U.S., not unlike the personal papers and documents donated to the foundation by collectors and scholars of the past. The Vasvary Collection is a case in point. (See HSN nos. 5,11,14, and 30.) We are encouraged to report that the establishment and building of such a specialized research library, archives and museum by the American Hungarian Foundation is near the threshold of being constructed. The site has been acquired near Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J. Preliminary architectural and engineering plans have been approved. Advance gifts and pledges now total $500,000 toward the $1,800,000 goal. And a major fund drive will be underway in 1982. Systematic publication of reference materials such as produced in the Hungarian Reference Shelf series (see ad on p. 16), i.e., bibliographies, surveys, summaries and overviews in various disciplin­ary subfields serving as learning and research aids are very much in demand. Perhaps Hungarianists and relevant scholarly organizations are ready to discuss and adopt some of these ideas and will do something about them. The HSN is always ready to give such efforts maximum publicity. BOOKS ARTES POPULÄRES 7. A Folklór Tanszék Évkönyve [Year­book of the Department of Folklore] (Eötvös L.U.). Ed. Vilmos Voigt. Budapest: Pesti Barnabas utca 1. Hungary 1364, 1981. 260 pages, illus., tables, diagrams. N.p., paper. This yearbook was published in honor of folklorist Imre Katona on his 60th birthday. The volume contains a dis­cussion of his scholarly activities (in English); a proposal for an international coordination of folk lyric studies (in English and in French) by Voigt and Katona; and 16 papers of substantive issues. The introducton and 6 papers are in English, 4 in French, 3 in German, and 3 in Russian. Some of the papers deal with extra-European folklore, others present theoretical and empirical topics in Russian, while another group of papers gives transcripts of lectures presented at the Eötvös L.U. by guest lecturers. Of particular interest are papers on social stratification in a Hungarian village by E. Kovács; on the semiotics of First of May celebration in the 1970s by Voigt; and on principles of oral traditions by Gy. Ortutay. The reader is reminded of earlier yearbook volumes. Some earlier volumes of the yearbook contain hard-to-find lists of research reports and doctoral dissertations (Vol. 4-5 to be continued in vol. 8). We learn also of the publication of the first college-level textbook in folklore A magyar folklór (Budapest: Tankönyvkiadó, 1979) and of two more volumes under preparation; Néprajzi szöveggyiijtemeny [Collection of folklore texts] and Bevezetes a folklorisztikába [Introduc­tion to folkloristics.] These volumes will be required texts in folkore, ethnography, and anthropology. The editor is head of the Department of Folklore at the Eötvös L.U. Demaitre (Demeter), Edmund. EYEWITNESS: a Journalist Covers the 20th Century. Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 250 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10003. 343 pages, illus. $17.50 cloth. Biographies and memoirs frequently shed more light on the historical environment in which the witness lived than dozens of scientif ical ly executed analyses. The author of this volume, a journalist had the opportunity to talk face-to-face with persons who had extraordinary influence on the events of the time. Among others, he met with Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, Charles de Gaulle, Alexandra Kollontai, Eduard Benes, Ferenc Molnár, Thomas Mann and conserved a glimpse of their personalities and actions. The book begins with a deeply human recollection of his early youth in Hungary, sketched against the background of historic events. He found insights into the explosive problems of Eastern Europe and writes about the consequences of the Paris (Continued on Page 2) NO. 31-32. SPRING-SUMMER, 1982 HUNGARIAN STUDIES NEWSLETTER