Literature and Culture

Zsolt Mészáros

The Wohl Sisters and Their Literary Salon

The focus of my research is on the oeuvres of Janka (1846-1901) and Stefánia Wohl (1848-1889), in the context of the emancipation of women; from the aspects of literature, contemporary press, and the phenomenon of literary salons. Janka started her career under János Arany’s patronage, together with the new generation of female poets of the 1850s (Flóra Majthényi, Atala Kisfaludi), then she turned to journalism. Stefánia wrote prose (tales, short stories, novels), and became interested in social issues (female labour, political institutions, the process of embourgeoisement). It is reflected in her major work, Aranyfüst, which was translated into German, English and French. Their home functioned as a literary salon. They edited the ambitious fashion magazine Magyar Bazár (1873–1901), which was well-known for its progressive literary supplement, campaigns for emancipation of women, and support for emerging women writers. The research is to result in processing the oeuvres of the two sisters, and understanding women writers’ forums of publication, career-patterns, professional relations, and social and cultural reception in the 19th century.


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