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Exile and Social Thought

Exile and Social Thought: Hungarian Intellectuals in Germany and Austria, 1919-1933

Lee Congdon
Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 392
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvgcw
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    Exile and Social Thought
    Book Description:

    Embroiled in the political events surrounding World War I and the failed Hungarian revolutions of 1918-19, a number of intellectuals fled Hungary for Germany and Austria, where they essentially created Weimar culture. Among them were Georg Lukács, whose History and Class Consciousness recast Marxism and challenged even those who repudiated its politics; Bela Balázs, who pioneered film theory and collaborated with film-makers G. W. Pabst, Leni Riefenstahl, and Alexander Korda; László Moholy-Nagy, who codirected the Bauhaus during its heyday in the mid-1920s; and Karl Mannheim, whose Ideology and Utopia was the most widely discussed work of noncommunist social theory during the Weimar years. In this collective portrait combining intellectual history with biographical detail, Lee Congdon describes how Hungarian thinkers, each in a different way, passionately advocated the need for community in a Europe torn by war and revolution. Whether communist, avant-gardist, or Catholic convert, each thinker is examined within the vast tapestry of his works, his cultural and intellectual milieu, and his experience as an exile. Despite the ideological differences of these men, Congdon reveals how their personal destinies and social goals often merged. Since many were assimilated Jews, he argues that their thinking on society was inextricably intertwined with their youthful sensitivity to anti-Semitism in Hungary and with the isolating limitations of their lives in Germany and Austria.

    Originally published in 1991.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5290-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. INTRODUCTION HUNGARIAN INTELLECTUALS IN WAR AND REVOLUTION, 1914–1919
    (pp. 3-42)

    COUNT István Tisza greeted with alarm the news that a Bosnian terrorist had assassinated Franz Ferdinand. The son of Kálmán Tisza, who ruled Hungary with an iron hand from 1875 to 1890, the Hungarian Minister President was a man of great personal courage, but he feared for his country because he knew that a European war might release national and social forces inimical to the continued existence of the Habsburg Monarchy. To be sure, his fervent Calvinist faith predisposed him to a pessimistic view of human affairs and, like most of his countrymen, he could not forget Johann Gottfried Herder’s...

  7. PART ONE: THE COMMUNISTS

    • ONE GEORG LUKÁCS: THE ROAD TO LENIN
      (pp. 45-99)

      AFTER RESIGNING in favor of a caretaker trade-union government, the Soviet Republic’s leaders left for Austria aboard a train protected by the Italian military mission. Lukács did not accompany them because Kun had instructed him and Ottó Korvin, the Republic’s security chief, to stay behind and organize an underground movement aimed at reestablishing communist rule. It was a hopeless and dangerous mission. Lukács had all he could do just to escape detection. At great personal risk, Béla Zalai’s widow, Olga Máté, hid him in her attic during daylight hours. When, on August 7, Lukács learned that the police had apprehended...

    • TWO BÉLA BALÁZS: THE ROAD TO THE PARTY
      (pp. 100-136)

      I KNOW that we are headed for a better life,” Anna Schlamadinger Balázs remarked, with forced conviction, on her and her new husband’s way into exile.¹ It was November 1919 and she and Balázs huddled together on board a Danube steamer making its way from Budapest to Vienna. Sporting a false mustache, sideburns, and a pince-nez, Balázs carried his brother Ervin’s identification papers and money he had received from Júlia Láng. Before fleeing to Austria, Béla Kun had entrusted friendly non-Communists, including Láng, with funds to aid comrades in need.

      The nervewracking trip passed without incident, and as soon as...

  8. PART TWO: THE AVANT-GARDE

    • THREE LAJOS KASSÁK: THE MA CIRCLE
      (pp. 139-176)

      SOON AFTER Gyula Peidl formed a caretaker government in Budapest, the new authorities in Keszthely took Lajos Kassák into custody. They detained him there for several days before sending him on to the capital with an armed escort. In his autobiography, the pugnacious leader of the Hungarian avant-garde did not complain of his treatment, but he did testify to his mounting apprehension. As always, he took what courage he could from his faithful wife, the self-sacrificing Jolán Simon. Whenever he sank into despair, she appeared with food and news of fast-paced events in the outer world. “They have arrested Ottó...

    • FOUR LÁSZLÓ MOHOLY-NAGY: THE BAUHAUS
      (pp. 177-210)

      I WAS VERY PLEASED by the creation of the Bauhaus,¹ Kassák recalled in 1963, “in part because I saw in it the confirmation of my own principles, in part because colleagues of mine were among its leaders.” Why then, his interviewer inquired, did he not join, or work more closely with, the German school? “Because,” the Hungarian replied, “I was completely occupied, and anyway Moholy-Nagy, Kállai, and Farkas Molnár wereMainsiders. My connection was therefore as intimate as if I had personally been there. Had I been there, however, I would not have been able to keep Ma going.”¹...

  9. PART THREE: THE LIBERALS

    • FIVE AUREL KOLNAI: THE PATH TO ROME
      (pp. 213-253)

      OSZKÁR JÁSZI quit Budapest for Vienna on May 1, 1919. He traveled without his wife, Anna Lesznai, who stayed behind to complete plans for the reform of arts and crafts education in Hungary. Although not a Communist, she remained on friendly terms with Lukács and Balázs and supported their efforts to revolutionize Hungarian culture. Just as important, she no longer believed that her marriage to Jászi could be saved. He had arrived at the same conclusion and almost as soon as he reached Austria, he notified her that he wished to end their union. In a thirty-page letter of reply,...

    • SIX KARL MANNHEIM: THE SOCIOLOGY OF KNOWLEDGE
      (pp. 254-303)

      ON MAY 2, 1919, Paul Szende boarded a Danube boat headed for Vienna. He had recently celebrated his fortieth birthday, and as he took a long last look at his native land, he dwelled more on the past than on the future. As so often in his life, he was alone, not because he lacked for friends or was unpopular with the ladies, but because he placed a premium on independence. And yet like many such men he experienced bouts of loneliness. Jászi, who knew him as well as any man, observed that Szende “was usually the last to leave...

  10. CONCLUSION COMMUNITY AND CONSCIOUSNESS
    (pp. 304-306)

    PERHAPS the dispersed members of the /cultural/ community, having again gone their separate ways after existential contact, live to the end different tendencies from among the possibilities and seeds they appropriated. They bear them, individually, to distinctive conclusions along the lines of their particular intentions, but they nevertheless continue to form a unity at this stage, because they have developed thesame, if also different, seeds.”¹ Mannheim committed these words to paper in 1924, with his generation of Hungarian exiles in mind. His preoccupation with syntheses enabled him to see that despite their differences, the Communists, avant-gardists, and liberals were...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 307-338)
  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 339-366)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 367-376)