12. Course unit: Literature, Politics and Oppositon in Socialist Eastern and Central Europe

Nr. of credits: 5

Course type: Seminar (Practice), Nr. in the semester: 60

Commitment: term mark

Place of course in the curriculum: 2nd semester

Preliminary study terms:

Course description:

The proposed seminar focuses on the situation of literature and cultural life in socialist countries after World War II. It shows the process of the ‘nationalization’ of cultural institutions by Communist parties, the introducing of censorship in everyday practice, and the relationship between the intelligentsia and the Communist state. Thereafter, it concentrates on some consequences of the political liberalization in post-Stalinist Central and Eastern Europe from the late 1950s to the 1980s, with special emphasis on the Hungarian case. The cultural policy which classified art and literature with the categories permitted-prohibited-promoted was significant for this period in each country of the Eastern Bloc, but became known as ‘Three T’s’ of György Aczél, the preeminent personality in the cultural policy of the Kádár regime. The most interesting new tendency of this period was the ‘Eastern edition’ of the absurd and grotesque ways of expression in prose and drama (especially in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary). The second part of the seminar deals with the dissident movements, the appearance of the second public sphere and the role of the samizdat network in creating alternative cultures.

3–5 most important obligatory and recommended literature (books, textbooks) with the bibliographical data:

– Obligatory:

History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe. Junctures and Disjunctures in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Volume I. Ed. Marcel Cornis-Pope, John Neubauer. John Benjamins Publishing Company: Amsterdam-Philadelphia, 2007 (ISBN 90 272 3452 3), 33–106; 143–147.

History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe. Junctures and Disjunctures in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Volume III. Making and Remaking of Literary Institutions.  Ed. Marcel Cornis-Pope, John Neubauer. John Benjamins Publishing Company: Amsterdam-Philadelphia, 2007 (ISBN 978 90 272 3455 1), 95–141.

Samizdat: alternative culture in Central and Eastern Europe – from the 1960s to the 1980s. Berlin, Academyof Fine Arts 10. 09. – 29. 10. 2000, Prague, National Museum 06. 06. - 25. 08. 2002, Brussels, European Parliament 05.-15. 11. 2002 : [an exhibition by the Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen] / [ed. by Vilém Prečan, Erika Rissmann, Milena Janišová]. Bremen: Research Centre for East European Studies at the Univ. of Bremen, 2002. (ISBN 3-936604-02-9)

Falk, Barbara J.: The Dilemmas of Dissidence in East-Central Europe: Citizen Intellectuals and Philosopher Kings, CEU Press, Budapest ; New York, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-9639241398


– Recommended:

Skilling, Harold G.: Samizdat and an independent society in Central and Eastern Europe, Macmillan Press, in association with St Antony’s College, Oxford, 1989. (ISBN-10: 0814204872)

Goetz-Stankiewicz, Marketa: Good-bye. Samizdat offers the first collection of the best of Czechoslovakia’s samizdat, underground texts from the era 1948 through 1990. Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1992. (ISBN 0-8101-1035-0)

Fydrych, Waldemar: Pomarańczowa Alternatywa. Rewolucja Krasnoludków = The Orange Alternative. Rewolution of Dwarves = Die Orange Alternative. Revolution der Zwerge.  Fundacja„Pomarańczowa Alternatywa”, Warsaw, 2008. (ISBN 978-83-926511-4-7)

Course director: Dr. Kappanyos, András Associate Professor, PhD

Participating teacher: Dr. Kertész, Noémi Senior Lecturer, PhD