___Tethered. The Cultural Elite and Power [Standeisky Éva: Gúzsba kötve. A kulturális elit és a hatalom]___Back


Tethered. The Cultural Elite and Power
(In Hungarian)

Budapest: 1956 Institute/Historical Library of the State Security Services. HUF 4500.

The book explores the complex, ambiguous relations between power and Hungary’s intellectual elite, above all its writers, and their reluctant mutual dependence. Relations between the politicians and the intelligentsia were rearranged several times by the great changes of the 20th century. The decisive change came at the end of the 1940s, with the liquidation of the vestiges of bourgeois democracy. The post-war intellectual openness and creative verve succumbed to a totalitarian dictatorship that had brought the intelligentsia conclusively under its yoke by the early 1950s. But the close ties between the political leadership and the writers were not simply forced on the latter. Many people saw in the developments as a liberation from the exploitation of the market, as a pledge that their utopias would be accomplished. The ties between them became even more tangled in the Kádár period. For many, the peaceful, uneventful Kádár years came as a relief after the evils of pre-1945 and the early 1950s. Most of the intellectual elite likewise praised the calm and the security of livelihood and creation that prevailed. But in spite of these seemingly smooth conditions, both those in power and the creators felt the constraints upon them. Many of them made use of the greater room for manoeuvre and tried to expand the framework. The tethers loosened, but remained...



Those who feared for the nation. Writers, politicians and soldiers at Lillafüred in 1942


Years of hope and disillusionment

Vocation and party politics. Form of behaviour in the Communist intelligentsia

Autonomy and obligation. Arts-policy concepts in the Social Democratic Party

Creative people in public life. The Hungarian Arts Council

The skin of the snake. Politics and ideology in the years of change

Fear and superciliousness. Hungarian writers and Soviet imperial/literary policy


From the history of the Writers’ Union

‘My father’s building a house...’ The Writers’ Union, writers’ groups and power, 1945–58

Chain reaction. Sovietization of Hungarian literary life in 1949–51

Polemics. Writers and the New Course of 1953


Medical reports on the Kádár period

Mirrors. Populist writers, peasant-party politicians and power, 1960–73

Disintegration. Power and the cultural elite in the 1970s

Shoes and laces. Power and the literary elite in the 1970s


Affairs, trials and personages

Remission of sins. The trial and poetic rehabilitation of József Erdélyi

Tibor Déry and Imre Nagy

Péter Veres, the literary policy-maker

Informers among the guests. Aftermath of a birthday

Persecuted members of the intelligentsia in the early Kádár period. The trial of Gyula Zsigmond, Sándor Püski and associates

In the grip of homesickness and longing for freedom. The luring home of Lajos Zilahy: attempt and failure



Archive sources

Index of names


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Copyright © 2000 National Széchényi Library 1956 Institute and Oral History Archive
Last updated:  Monday, 18-September-2006

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