The Discursive Lessons of the Tormay Affair Cover Image

A Tormay-affér mentalitástörténeti tanulságai
The Discursive Lessons of the Tormay Affair

Author(s): Anita Kurimay
Subject(s): Gender history, Interwar Period (1920 - 1939)
Published by: AETAS Könyv- és Lapkiadó Egyesület

Summary/Abstract: This article examines the scandal of Cécile Tormay, a writer of international repute and prominence in interwar Hungary. Her purported homosexuality, despite its high political stakes, juicy bedroom details, long line of distinguished witnesses, and extensive press coverage has been largely ignored by historians. Cécile Tormay’s relationship with Countess Zichy Rafael became the talk of Budapest during the Zichys’ divorce trial and the subsequent libel case that Tormay and Countess Zichy filed against the count and his servants. Rather than trying to decipher the truth about Tormay’s sexuality and her relationship to the Countess, this article aims to reconstruct ideas and understandings of sexuality and especially of female homosexuality during the 1920s. By contextualizing the scandal within the social and cultural history of interwar Hungary, contemporary newspaper coverage, and the court documents of divorce and libel cases, this article reveals a gendered and highly class based understanding of female sexuality.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 70-82
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Hungarian