Reading Through Theory – Studies in Theory-framed Interpretation of the Literary Text
Budapest: Eötvös, 2021.
This collection brings together critical studies framed by several theoretical perspectives, including performative, intersubjective, postmodern, feminist, tropological, and rhetorical. In some essays the author discusses the theoretical frameworks themselves, delineating the various paradigms and giving historical overviews of how these paradigms evolved, while also demonstrating how they can be applied in literary interpretation. Studies on the paradigms of performativity, intersubjectivity in Henry James, Emily Dickinson’s catachreses, metalepsis and rhizome in H.D.’s prose, the fantastic as performative in Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce, performative genders in Carson McCullers and David Hwang, narrative triangles in American and Hungarian fiction (Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Michael Cunningham; Sándor Márai, Péter Nádas), pornography in Péter Esterházy’s novels, Charles Bernstein’s imploded sentences, Augusto de Campos’s visual experiments, and Susan Howe’s innovative poetry.
Ami szép, az nehéz – A nem alanyi költészetről
[χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά – The beautiful things are difficult. On non-lyric poetry]
Budapest: Akadémiai, 2021.
Written in Hungarian, this book explores lyric and non-lyric poetries in Hungarian and American verse. The lyric mode is presented through the analysis of a poem each by Louise Glück, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Zsuzsa Rakovszky, Imre Oravecz, Szabolcs Várady, and Géza Szőcs, followed by chapters on non-lyric modes such as American poetries of attention (imagism and the American long poem), attempts at getting rid of the lyrical ego (Charles Olson), withdrawals of the self (Susan Howe), concrete poetry, the ideogram and verbivocovisuality (Augusto de Campos), and language poetry (Charles Bernstein).
Kölcsönösségek – Irodalomelmélet, szövegolvasás, kultúraközvetítés
[Reciprocities—Literary Theory, Reading, Cultural Mediation]
Budapest: Balassi, 2020.
The studies collected in this Hungarian langue volume present explorations grounded in various theories, among them, performative, intersubjective, tropological, rhetorical, and feminist. Bollobás addresses diverse topics and authors such as Hungarian structuralism in language and literature studies, paradigms of performativity, catachresis as trope and gesture, Henry James, Sándor Márai, Péter Nádas, Péter Esterházy, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Charles Bernstein, Augusto de Campos, Susan Howe, Thomas Pynchon, J.D. Salinger, John Updike, Jonathan Franzen, Sylivia Plath, Charles Olson, Gyula Kodolányi, and Sándor Scheiber.
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.
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.
Reviewed in Hungarian:
Gabriella Vöő: A figyelem költője, a "Lehetséges" lakója. Literatura, 3 (2017). 249–254.
Attila Buda: Vendégünk a végtelenből. Emily Dickinson költészete. Irodalomtörténet, 96. 3 (2015). 365–369.
Reviewed in English:
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.
Reviewed in Hungarian:
Mária Kurdi: Elmélet és irodalomolvasás harmóniája. Filológiai Közlöny, LXI. 1 (2015). 118–123.
Réka M. Cristian: Tudomány és együttalkotás – egy elméleti képlet leképezései. Literatura, 40. 2 (2014). 184–192.
Pál Hegyi: Egy képlet nyomában. Irodalmi Jelen, February 27, 2014.
Anna Kérchy: Bollobás Enikő. Egy képlet nyomában. TNTeF, 3/1 (2013). 155–160.
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.
Reviewed in English:
Donald Wesling: They Aren't, Until I Call Them: Performing the Subject in American Literature by Enikő Bollobás. American Studies, 51/3–4 (2010).
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.
Reviewed in English:
Reviewed in Hungarian:
Tamás Bényei: Beleírás, átírás, szétírás. BUKSZ, 19/4 (2007). 325–335.
Ferenc Takács: Kívül-belül. Bollobás Enikő: Az amerikai irodalom története. Népszabadság, November 5, 2005.
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.