Essays on Ethnicity, Identity, and Culture
Like the renowned American writer Edmund Wilson, who began to learnHungarian at the age of 65, Richard Teleky started his study of thatdifficult language as an adult. Unlike Wilson, he is a third-generationHungarian-American with a strong desire to understand how his ethnicbackground has affected the course of his life. "Exploring myethnicity," he writes, "became a way of exploring thearbitrary nature of my own life. It was not so much a search for rootsas for a way of understanding rootlessness -- how I stacked up againstanother way of being." He writes with clarity, perception, andhumour about a subject of importance to many Americans -- reconcilingtheir contemporary identity with a heritage from another country.
From an examination of photographer Andre Kertesz to a visit to aHungarian-American church in Cleveland, from a consideration ofstereotypical treatment of Hungarians in North American fiction andfilm to a description of the process of translating the Hungarianpoetry into English, Teleky's interests are wide-ranging. Heconcludes with an account of his first visit to Hungary at the end ofSoviet rule.
Teleky offers several riches: a sharply insightful interpretation of the marvelous photographs of André Kertész; a useful study of Hungarian stereotypes in North American fiction; a pedagogical commentary on a rarely taught subject, Central European literature in translation; and an introduction to the works of Peter Esterházy, an author who, judging by Teleky’s standards, is well worth reading and teaching in American Colleges.
... a fascinating record of a third-generation Hungarian American’s ‘attempt at understanding Hungarianness’ .... a treasure house of information filtered through the experience of an intelligent teacher.
Although there is a well-paced humour in this tenderly written book, there is also a wise man's longing for a place and a tradition which, until now, has been dispersed by war, politics, and other modern tragedies…
A Note on Hungarian Names
Playtime: Adult Language Learning, Edmund Wilson, and Me
"What the Moment Told Me": The Photographs of AndreKertesz
The Archives of St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Without Words: Hungarians in North American Fiction
The Empty Box: Hollywood Ethnicity and Joe Eszterhas
A Short Dictionary of Hungarian Stereotypes and Kitsch
Toward a Course on Central European Literature in Translation
The Poet as Translator: Margaret Avison's "HungarianSnap"
Introducing Peter Esterhazy
"What Comes After": Hungarian Voices, Summer 1993
The Third Generation and the "Problem" of Ethnicity
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