The History of HJEAS

Editorial Note

by Zoltán Abádi-Nagy

(Published in Volume I, Number 1 of HJEAS)

We—that is HJEAS, formerly HSE—are a senior Central European journal of English and American Studies (listed in the MLA Directory of Periodicals). As Hungarian Studies in English is changing its somewhat misleading name (often mistakenly believed to stand for Hungarian Studies essays in English translation) to the hopefully unambiguous Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies with the present issue, we would like to remind our readers of the role HSE played is unrivaled in post-WWII Hungary: its issues formed the only undisrupted periodical sequence devoted exclusively to English and American Studies in this country from 1963 on.

The full story does antedate László (“Ladislas”) Országh’s 1963 venture by almost three decades but it is either somebody else’s story (founder and Chair of Budapest’s English Department Professor Arthur B. Yolland launching Studies in English Philology in 1936 although with the later Debrecen Chairmen Sándor Fest and László Országh among the contributors from the very start); or only partly our story (the 1942 issue of the short-lived Studies in English Philology was jointly published by Budapest’s Royal Hungarian “Pázmány Péter” University and Debrecen’s “Gróf Tisza István” University, the latter’s “English Institute” having been established in 1938 with Sándor Fest as Chair); or it is far from being an uninterrupted story (the 1944 closing double issue, Vols. V and VI, of Studies in English Philology, still a joint publication of the two universities, edited by “Alexander Fest, Ladislaus Országh and Joseph Szentkirályi,” was the first issue that bore Hungarian in its name with Philology dropped from the title, but it was also the last of that series—the journal’s Hungarian title remained unchanged and was even kept by the new series almost all through: Angol Filológiai Tanulmányok).

The period between the first and only Hungarian Studies in English issue of what originally was the Studies in English Philology series and Országh’s new series HSE (the period of 1944-63) was in fact a story of nothing but uninterrupted disruption: first the war, the enormous social upheaval; then László Országh, who became Debrecen’s Professor of English and Head of the English Institute in 1947, had to see his Department closed in 1950 (only Budapest was allowed to have departments of Western languages), not to be reopened until 1957; and it was not until 1963 that he was able to introduce the new series of HSE (to be edited after his 1969 retirement—except where he himself still had to return to help out—by Anna Katona, Lajos Némedi, István Pállfy and Zoltán Abádi-Nagy).

László Országh’s HSE managed to be one of the vital Central European professional links with the English-speaking world, and for scholars in Hungary’s English Departments certainly one of the most important links in times when such links were severed by an antagonistic ideology or disapproved of by the official discourse. Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies will set great store by this tradition.

At the same time HJEAS is determined to respond to the new situation created in the wake of the vast social changes that took place in 1989 in Hungary. An astounding growth has occurred in our English Departments and we are anticipating an unprecedented demand in this forum for opportunities to publish by a rapidly growing community of Hungarian scholars working in all the diverse fields of English and American Studies. In order to be able to fulfill the double role of providing a forum for Hungarian scholars as well as to be able to continue inviting international contributions, HJEAS will be devoted, as HSE‘s last issues were, only to literary and cultural studies concerning the English-speaking world, with a somewhat more marked emphasis on theory. The later interest dominates the present issue. HJEAS‘s forthcoming issues are planned to be topical in a similar, not at all narrowly defined sense. And book reviews are back (the book review section counts as a reintroduction since HSE used to have book reviews in the first ten volumes).

If the journal’s name is one of the really new features, subscribability is another. But our decision to publish two issues every year is certainly the most important of all.

Now that we are closing the annual series of HSE with its 23 volumes and premiere semi-annual HJEAS with its first number, we thank you for your support and hope you will support us in the future.