Challenging Representations of Feminine Desire in Women’s Prose in Post-Communist Hungary Cover Image
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Challenging Representations of Feminine Desire in Women’s Prose in Post-Communist Hungary
Challenging Representations of Feminine Desire in Women’s Prose in Post-Communist Hungary

Author(s): Agata Schwartz
Subject(s): Gender Studies, Hungarian Literature
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti
Summary/Abstract: Post-1989 political developments have brought about many changes for Hungarians. Several of these changes have affected Hungarian women in particular ways. I would like to reflect on some aspects of these changes regarding the representation of Hungarian women from women’s perspectives since, as Susan Gal and Gail Kligman have observed, ‘a gendered perspective is central to understanding the dynamics of post-socialism’ (Gal/Kligman 117). I will use three examples from contemporary Hungarian literature, all written by young women during the 1990s: Dóra Esze’s “Like Two Peas in a Pod” (Két tojás, 1996); Zsuzsa Forgács’s “The Found Woman” (Talált nő, 1996), and Agáta Gordon’s “Goat Lipstick” (Kecskerúzs, 1997). These three narratives offer good examples of the complex intertwining of different discourses regarding the representation of women’s bodies and sexuality. They reflect the diverse strategies through which young women in post-communist Hungary are permanently making an effort to make their voices heard amidst a strange mixture of neo-conservative essentialist views of femininity and some vague remnants of a communist emancipatory discourse. I will focus on how and whether these writers challenge the existing discourses about feminine sexuality and desire, and to what extent they are able to break free from predesigned patterns of representation. With the help of contemporary psychoanalytical theories, I wish to explore the discourses which meet in these texts and which are often contradictory with regard to the expression of feminine sexuality and desire.

  • Page Range: 133-144
  • Page Count: 12
  • Publication Year: 2006
  • Language: English