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Books authored

Az amerikai irodalom rövid története

[A Concise History of American Literature]
Budapest: Osiris, 2015. 612 pages.

This is the textbook version of Enikő Bollobás's award winning Az amerikai irodalom története [A History of American Literature] (2005), spanning American literature from its pre-colonial beginnings to the present day. It covers not only the traditional "Great Books" canon but also the writings of previously muted minorities (women, African Americans, Native Americans, Chicanos, gays and lesbians, and others), as well as the canon of avantgarde experimentation (borne of the impulse to innovate, even at the expense of being "difficult" or inaccessible). Thus introducing the student of literature to the diversity of American literature, this History offers a set of texts, complete with well-defined interpretive strategies, teachable at the university level.

Contents
Introduction

 

Reviewed in English:

Vendégünk a végtelenből. Emily Dickinson költészete

[Our Visitor from Infinitude: Emily Dickinson's Poetry]
Budapest: Balassi, 2015. 247 pages.

In this densely researched yet lucid critical study, the first monograph on America's foremost woman poet to appear in Hungary (and in Hungarian), Enikő Bollobás gives a meticulous examination of Emily Dickinson's overall poetic achievement. 
     Working from the assumption that Dickinson was a self-conscious, determined poet, Bollobás discusses her seeming idiosyncrasies as early manifestations of a modern(ist) mind, who cannily broke with just about all norms of 19th century versification. The study presents the Amherst poet as a subversive thinker and a formal innovator, who dared to think what had not been thought before, to invent new concepts, and to create new linguistic structures as vehicles for her new thoughts.
     In addition to Dickinson's cognitive and formal experiments, the poet's thematic innovations gain a new interpretation. Yet instead of presenting traditional themes, Bollobás identifies modes of thematic treatment, among them Dickinson's aesthetics of process, inspection of inner events, epistemological and cognitive uncertainty, and multiple selves.

 

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Egy képlet nyomában. Karakterelemzések az amerikai és a magyar irodalomból

[In Search of a Formula: Character studies in American and Hungarian literature]

Budapest: Balassi, 2012. 234 pages.

This book is about how the literary character gets created in the text: this is the "formula" it sets up, tracing the processes whereby the subject is performatively constructed with relation to existing scripts. The author first elaborates the theoretical framework for this formula, exploring theories of the subject from Descartes to Judith Butler, then discusses subjectivity constructions where inflections of gender, sexuality, and race mark the performed subject. Bollobás draws correspondences between the performative and the tropological, insisting that the re-performance of existing scripts accounts for metaphorical constructions, while the non-compliance with these normative discourses makes for the subject as catachresis. This theoretical formula is then applied in the close reading of a whole range of texts and characters from American and Hungarian literature primarily.

 

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THEY AREN'T, UNTIL I CALL THEM. Performing the Subject in American Literature

Frankfurt am Main – Berlin – Bern – Bruxelles – New York – Oxford: Peter Lang, 2010. 233 pages.

In the story of the three baseball umpires, two novice umpires compete in boasting how they respect "truth" and the way things "really" are. One says, "I call them the way I see them"; the other, trying to trump this remark, responds, "I call them the way they are." Then enters the third, most seasoned umpire, saying, "They aren't, until I call them." 
     This book is about two widely argued issues in literature criticism today, performativity and subjectivity. How do literary characters become who they are? What performative processes and what scripts do they follow when they "do" gender, race, and sexuality? 
     Tying into speech act theories and subjectivity theories, as well as gender, race, and sexuality studies, the book explores – through the close reading of several American texts – the many ways words make "things" in literature.

Contents
Introduction

Reviewed in English:

Az amerikai irodalom története 

[A History of American Literature]

Budapest: Osiris, 2005. 874 pages.

A grand survey of American literature from its native pre-colonial beginnings to end of the 20th century, the book sets out to uncover the pluralism of American literature and the multiplicity of literary and interpretive canons. In addition to the traditional canon representing the culture of dominant social groups and producing the all too familiar national narratives, the History portrays the multicultural canon of representation as well as the canon of avantgarde experimentation. In other words, side by side with the familiar "Great Books", the writings of previously muted minorities – women, African Americans, Native Americans, Chicanos, gays and lesbians, and others – are treated as integral and representative works. At the same time, the history of avantgardism – the impulse to innovate, renew, change, and experiment even at the expense of being "difficult" or inaccessible – is being surveyed with similar scrutiny. The ultimate thesis of the book concerns one of the most exciting questions of U. S. literature: how representational diversity and experimentation compete for furnishing its unique "Americanness". Winner of the HUSSE (Hungarian Society for the Study of English), Award for Best Book.


Introduction

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Charles Olson

New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992. 151 pages.

An introduction to the poetry and philosophy of Charles Olson, the monograph treats the early postmodernism of Olson as the continuation of the radical modernism of the Pound–Williams–Stein tradition, emphasizing its overall ambition to overcome Western humanistic logocentrism. In addition, Olson's epistemology is explained in the context of other artistic and scientific departures from logocentric Western humanism, such as those of John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Franz Kline, Norbert Wiener or Werner Heisenberg. After the chapters on the intellectual background of the poet and his major theoretical essays, the monograph gives readings of Olson's significant shorter poems as well as The Maximus Poems.

Tradition and Innovation in American Free Verse: Whitman to Duncan
Budapest: Akadémiai, 1986. 328 pages.

This book examines three prosodic paradigms of 19th and 20th century American free verse, representing three possible answers to the challenge of formal innovation. The prosodic achievements of Walt Whitman, T. S. Eliot, and the Pound-Williams line constitute three alternatives representing, from a typological point of view, three radically different innovations: (i) the prosody of grammar related to the sentence level (Whitman); (ii) vers libéré, or the prosody of (metrical) approximation (Eliot); and (iii) the prosody of textual contiguity of Pound, Williams, and the early postmoderns. Prosodic form is read by grammetrical analysis, a method flexible enough to handle prosodic innovation in its pluralism. Prosodic avantgardism is here studied in its contiguity and is presented as the major achievement of modern poetry.