The emancipation of the Wohl sisters Cover Image

A Wohl-nővérek emancipációja
The emancipation of the Wohl sisters

A social historical approach in longitudinal section

Author(s): Zsuzsa Török
Subject(s): Gender history, Hungarian Literature, 19th Century
Published by: AETAS Könyv- és Lapkiadó Egyesület

Summary/Abstract: The paper provides a social historical analysis of the writing career of Janka Wohl and Stephanie Wohl. It proposes that periodicals were instrumental in shaping writers' life work, and that the press of the time requires particular attention when studying the 19thcentury history of authorship. It is based on the analysis of Stephanie Wohl's only letter of biographical relevance and on the wider, contextual presentation of some of the statements in the letter. The paper follows the life of the Wohl girls starting with a description of their family background and their education, until their career as writers and editors. It also discusses their reception in contemporary society and social life. The life of the Wohl sisters unfolds in the context of two significant social historical processes of the 19th-century: assimilated Jewish intellectuals and the emancipation of women. Their ambitions as writers are coupled with a strong assimilation urge, while the roots of this are explained through a presentation of the wider context of their family history. For them, the “life form” of the intellectual, which guaranteed integration into the society of Hungarian language and culture, was attainable through a fellowship with the Lutheran intelligentsia. And the Lutheran environment explains not only their writing activity, but also their skills to get along and act as organizers in the social life of their time.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 87-115
  • Page Count: 29
  • Language: Hungarian