Memory, Remembering, Biography: The Memoirs of a Civis Cover Image

Emlék, felidézés, önéletírás. Egy cívis-memoár tapasztalatai
Memory, Remembering, Biography: The Memoirs of a Civis

Author(s): Tamás Dobszay
Subject(s): History
Published by: KORALL Társadalomtörténeti Egyesület

Summary/Abstract: The historical value of memoire-type sources has been reassessed after the recent anthropological and cultural turn in historiography. Following a short survey of the most important trends in memoir research, the study analyses the memoirs of a nineteenth-century civis (market town burgher) of an aristocratic descent. Ferdinánd Jeszenszky began his career as a tailor until he was forcibly conscripted into the National Guard in 1848/49. In the second half of the century he worked in agriculture, both as a farmer, and as a superintendent of an estate. Later in life he became a teacher in village schools. The study examines the admitted aims, motivations, and circumstances of the author at the time of writing, as well as the characteristics of the structure, narrative and language of the reminiscences. In addition, the study reconstructs the ways remembering and narrative processes have shaped the account of past experiences, the contents of Jeszenszky’s memoirs. The work provides a more nuanced insight into the trends than previously seen in scholarship. It sheds light on the individual’s own experience of historical processes and the personal history of the author directs the reader’s attention to phenomena that diverge significantly from the directions and pace of mainstream history.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 41
  • Page Range: 35-50
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Hungarian