Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

<< Recycling Culture. Ancient and Sacral Texts in (Post) Modern Literature and Art

Márai's Novels and the Platonic Dialogues

Tünde Szabó (Budapest)



While Post-Modern texts characteristically make explicit use of their pre-texts, Modern works, not unlike 19 th-century Realism, create seemingly closed forms, and their connections with ancient sacral and literary textual traditions are not always obvious at first sight. This causes interpretations of Modern texts not to focus on their intertextual connections and their incorporation into literary tradition, but on ideological or referential issues.

It is the same in Sándor Márai's case. Both among the general public and among scholars Márai's novels have decidedly ideological interpretations, which has both historical and biographical causes. In connection with his works the issue of intertextuality only arises inasmuch as what effect the German literature of his age had on his works. However, a deeper poetic analysis shows that Márai's novels have numerous intertextual connections and they use texts which show a great variety in age, language and genre.

I propose to make a short presentation of the intertextual connections of Márai's The Sister. The principal pretext of the novel, in structure, genre and motifs, is one of Plato's most important dialogues called Symposium. This analysis will show the direct links between the dialogue and the novel, as well as identify other pretexts which also evoke and interpret Plato's tenets. The pretexts which have been identified and their interrelations prove that ancient texts cannot only be recycled directly but also through their interpretations in later texts. This method widens the horizons of literary interpretations, helps textual tradition survive and ensures the continuity of culture.

Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-09-07