Critiques, Portraits, Studies I-II.

Critiques, Portraits, Studies I-II.

Aladár Kuncz: Kritikák, portrék, tanulmányok I-II. (Critiques, Portraits, Studies I-II.)
Editing, proofreading and foreword by Tamás Gusztáv Filep and Andrea Juhász
Országos Széchényi Könyvtár – Kriterion Publishing House, 2019
[Collected Works of Aladár Kuncz V-VI., series edited by László Boka and Tamás Gusztáv Filep]
318+448 pages

5 500,- Ft

Although many generations have associated the Fekete kolostor (Black Monastery) and its author as a fiction writer on hearing the name of Aladár Kuncz, the author was originally a literary historian and critic. Although he wrote his truly significant work of fiction in the last years of his short life, in the eyes of posterity his early theoretical and literary history writings appear as companions, by-products of the oeuvre, so it is time to reformulate this general view. The published studies and portrait and critiques, the number of which, in addition to what has been known so far, has even increased with the recently emerged Kuncz writings, have been published in two volumes. Given the writings, it is now clear that Kuncz appeared at about the same time, perhaps a year or two apart, as an essay (portrait) writer, critic, and short story writer. This was preceded by a few years before the appearance of the literary historian and philologist Kuncz: at a very young age, in 1907, he wrote a monograph entitled Ferenc Toldy, published in the previous volume of the collected works series. Nor can it be seen today that his work as a literary translator began only at the beginning of the 1920s, after his return to Hungary, for the cultivation of which he was already mobilizing his past as a critic and literary historian.

The first volume covers writings published from 1909 to April 1923, and the second from 1923 to 1931. Easter in 1923 is a real caesura: it is the year of Kuncz’s return to Transylvania. In their volumes V. and VI. of the series Collected Works of Aladár Kuncz, the editors (Tamás Gusztáv Filep and Andrea Juhász) intended to classify the writer, literary historian, and critic’s studies, articles, critiques, portraits, interviews and statements in chronological order, and the vast majority of them are indeed related to fiction.

Collected Works of Aladár Kuncz

It was a hundred years ago, in 1914,  that Aladár Kuncz, the renowned writer, editor, critic and translator, a devoted admirer of the French culture, was interned by the French authorities together with other Hungarians staying in France. It was immediately after the breakout of World War I., but before a state of war between Austria-Hungary and France would have been officially declared. Although Kuncz had been going to France for holiday for years, he suddenly became persona non grata for being a citizen of an enemy state at war, and so did his fellow Hungarians.

The collection and publishing of the entire Kuncz oeuvre has not taken place until this anniversary, but now efforts are being made to fill the gap. Specialized researchers, academic workshops at National Széchényi Library that keeps part of the legacy, and Kriterion Publishing House in Romania, that excels in the publication of the Hungarian literary legacy in Romania, all contribute to the project. Within its framework we plan to complete the publication of the Collected Works (without the translations) of the writer of Black Monastery by another significant year, 2018: the centenary of the beginning of the Hungarian minority literature in Transylvania. The series of seven volumes edited by László Boka and Tamás Gusztáv Filep is planned to include the entire Kuncz oeuvre: novels, works of small epic, reviews, correspondence and monographs on Ferenc Toldy and the evolution of the Hungarian literary science.

Each volume will be complemented by an explanatory study and several critical notes. The  last title of the series is planned to include a bibliography of the articles, studies, essays and portraits expressing opinions on the reception of Kuncz and his works.

Volumes of the series:

  1. Fekete kolostor. Feljegyzések a francia internáltságból. (Black Monastery. Memoirs of the French Internment.) Editing, proofreading and introductory study written by Éva Jeney. NSZL–Kriterion, Budapest–Cluj-Napoca, 2014.
  2. Egy márványdarab. (Novellák, karcolatok, tárcák, jegyzetek, dráma). (A Piece of Marble. Short stories, Vignettes, Feuilletons, Notes, Drama.) Compiled and edited by Tamás Gusztáv Filep and Ágnes Varga. NSZL–Kriterion, Budapest–Cluj-Napoca, 2015.
  3. Felleg a város felett. Regény. (Cloud over the City. Novel.) Proofreading, preface and notes by Andrea Juhász. NSZL–Kriterion, Budapest–Cluj-Napoca, 2016.
  4. Kuncz Aladár: Monográfiák. Toldy Ferenc. A magyar irodalomtörténet elméletének és módszerének fejlődése Toldy Ferenc óta. (Aladár Kuncz: Monographies. Ferenc Toldy. Developments of the Theory and Method of the History of Hungarian Literature since Ferenc Toldy.) Proofrrading, notes and index of names: László Boka and Zsuzsanna Rózsafalvi. Introductory studz written by Boka László, NSZL–Kriterion, Budapest–Cluj-Napoca, 2017.