Writing of Contemporary National Literary History in Finland and Hungary – a Comparative Approach
The discourse on the writing of national literary histories is still in progress due to the postcolonial and transnational turn. In the frameworks of these literary theories, the meaning of national has been reshaped by focusing on the territorial, ethnic and language borders of contemporary literature. The theory of literary history writing had to face the issues of defining the phenomenon of migrant, emigrant and minority literature. A new Hungarian book titled Kik vagytok ti? Kötelező magyar irodalom – Újraélesztő könyv (Who Are You? Compulsory Hungarian Literature – A Revitalizing Book) (2019), also evoked a debate concerning the theoretical issues of Hungarian literary history writing. In this debate, not only the author and his critics confronted but also the critics with one another. By analysing the critiques and the author’s answers, the fundamental questions of the national literary history writing can be identified. With this metadiscursive approach, I aim to present the current state of Hungarian national literary history writing focusing on the minority and emigrant literature. I will compare the questions generated by the migrant literature in Finland to the issues emerging in the debate about Hungarian literature. This comparative and metadiscursive approach helps to understand the shaping process of the national literature in the dynamics of canonizations and marginalisation.