Revolutionaries, Travelers, Emigrants: Questions of Identity in Hungarian Emigrant Accounts
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Travel accounts do not only record the experience of a journey and present unfamiliar lands and people to armchair travelers but they tell just as much about the self-perception and identity of the travel writer. This paper examines a special form of travel writing by analyzing emigrant accounts written by Hungarian revolutionaries in North America after 1849. The travelogues unveil the attitude of Hungarians both towards the home country and the New World and address questions of identity, highlighting the position of emigrants caught between two spaces – still Hungarian but already becoming increasingly American. The paper focuses on two travel writers/emigrants, Károly László and János Xántus, who became American citizens but also visited and worked in Mexico and wrote about both places in books and newspaper articles before returning to Hungary years later. The study introduces the concept of triangulation in these accounts and discusses how the (national) identity of these writers became more complicated with time, and how this complexity was reflected in writing.
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