Dr. Anna Fuchs

Curriculum Vitae

Anna Fuchs studied at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, where she majored in History as well as in Hungarian Language and Literature Studies and also obtained a degree in Digital Humanities. She subsequently received a doctoral stipend through the study program for Hungarian Literature and obtained her doctorate degree at the Institute for Literature Studies of Eötvös Loránd University in 2013 with a dissertation on “Decadence as Literary Convention”. From 2004 to 2012, she also led the working group for the creation of the electronic-critical edition of Attila József’s prose there. Research stipends have led her, inter alia, to the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice and the University La Sapienza in Rome. Most recently, Dr. Fuchs was Researcher at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia) Research Center in the Humanities. From July to September 2015, Anna Fuchs was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”.

Research Project

Decadent Literature as Transgression which can break Criminal Law and rejects Human Rights

Transgression was a defining element of Decadence. At the end of the 19th century, the Decadents thought that progress had led to a world of artlessness, in which chosenness was of no value any longer. They identified themselves not as progressive, but just on the contrary, as believers in decline. They readily accepted the negative nickname “decadent” and proudly bore it and re-evaluated it as a positive attribute. They radically re-interpreted all values common to the modern world, a process explicitly expressed in the title of Huysmans’s novel, “A rebours,” which, in plain English, means “inversely.” They thought that the values modern society commonly bases itself upon, such as strength, health or enlightened moral principles could not be culture-generating values, and therefore they, at least in literature, practiced the cult of weakness and illness and questioned the intellectual achievements of the Enlightenment. Their criticism, however, was not conservative. Former traditions or church no longer meant a reference point for the Decadents. They considered the writer, the artist to be the only measure of value and they questioned all written or unwritten rules that meant the restriction of art for them. Their reinterpretation of values related not only to aesthetic rules but to law and morals as well. They disdained people who respected the law. However, the Decadents did not want to humanize the criminal law of their time. They looked down on human rights as well, because the concept of their own superiority led them to the rejection of humanity. By focusing on the different interpretations of Baudelaire’s trial and Stefan George’s poem cycle Algabal, I would like to contribute to revealing the inhuman side of Decadence.

Publications (selected)

  • La cultura italiana nelle apere di Jenő Péterfy, in: Rivista di Studi Ungheresi, Rome, 2013, 12, pp. 110-117.
  • Turn-of-the-century Aestheticism in the Early Articles of Dezső Kosztolányi, in: Trans. revue de littérature générale et comparée, 2010, 10, available at: http://trans.revues.org/411.
  • A barokk szerepe Szentkuthy Miklós két antik témájú regényében [The Role of Baroque in Two Novels on Antiquity by Miklós Szentkuthy], in: Literatura, 2013, pp. 313-417.
  • A nem-szép megszépítése [The Beautification of Ugliness], in: Literatura, 2012, pp. 347-353.
  • A dekadencia Szini Gyula művészetétben [Decadence in the Writings of Gyula Szini], in: Kalligram, December 2011, pp. 89-93.
  • Esztétikai töltetû vallás a századfordulón [The Aesthetic Role of Religion around 1900], in: Literatura, 2011, pp. 314-325.
  • A századforduló irodalmiassága Kosztolányi korai publicisztikai írásaiban [Aestheticism in the Publicistic Writings of Dezsö Kosztolanyi], in: Tiszatáj, May 2010, pp. 58-63.