Undead Culture in the East: The Hungarian Vampire Negotiating the National Past in Comrade Drakulich


SFRA Review, vol. 52, no. 1

On the Edge: The Fantastic in Hungarian Literature and Culture


Undead Culture in the East: The Hungarian Vampire Negotiating the National Past in Comrade Drakulich

Sándor Szélesi
Translated by Gergely Kamper

Western culture’s undead renaissance has a spectacular effect on European culture, and it has brought about nation-specific variations in Hungary. But while in the past two decades the West has been more invested in the vampire lover than in the political vampire (who may be as much of a seducer as the revenant in the supernatural romances), Hungary has rediscovered the political potentials of the bloodsucking undead. This phenomenon is almost self-explanatory: firstly, the figure of the vampire—the hybrid creature that is both living and dead—is a genuinely apt signifier of the haunting past that needs to be confronted and settled; and secondly, Hungary has its own historical connections to the literary vampire, as Transylvania, homeland of Dracula, used to be part of Hungary but was lost with the Treaty of Trianon in 1920. Therefore, spinning narratives with the vampire appears as a most natural Hungarian method to re-create fictive, alternative pasts to travel back and forth and thereby “harass” the present (Miklósvölgyi and Nemes). Nemes explains that practicing “a type of spectral retrofuturism, a returning which is not quite a repetition” (qtd. in Harrison, “Eastern Europe’s” n.p.) is what Hungarofuturism aims to do in order to oppose the Hungarian government’s essentializing view of what it means to be Hungarian (Harrison, “How a Futurist” n.p.) and to offer a new perspective on Hungarianness.

Such literary endeavors include Noémi Szécsi’s parodistic novel Finnugor vámpír (2002) [The Finno-Ugrian Vampire, 2012) and Szabolcs Benedek’s Vérgróf [Blood Count] trilogy (2012–2013), [1] both working with historical settings and the character of the vampire to radically re-imagine history, as well as Ágnes Gaura’s ongoing Borbála Borbíró series (2012–), [2] set in a contemporary, alternative Hungary and regularly using vampire characters to reminisce and comment about the past and thus remythologize both the national identity and the present. Among these works, Benedek’s lacks an ironical stance, while both Szécsi and Gaura use heavy irony as a tool to dismantle enforced, essentializing concepts about Hungarianness; [3] yet, independently of the authors’ artistic techniques (and the date of their publication), they qualify as Hungarofuturist works inasmuch as they contribute to “an identity-poetic experiment in radical imagination, through which an emergent minority identity can feed into a strategy of post-ironic overidentification” (Nemes, qtd. in Harrison, “Eastern Europe’s” n.p.). The same applies for the subject matter of the present study, the satirical vampire movie Comrade Drakulich, released in 2019 but set in 1972, which works to recreate a fictional past by connecting the protagonist vampire to the communist-socialist so-called Kádár era. While this film clearly aims at providing a critical view on a much debated, dark era of Hungarian history, I argue that its effort to utilize the motif of the undead comments equally on the Hungarian “official,” that is, the government-propagated attitude to its national past and this way defies the hegemonic, nationalist discourse about a normative, prescribed Hungarianness that stems from an interpretation of tradition and thus history.

As follows from the above, in order to put the film into context, it is necessary to provide a little insight into how the Kádár era and the present Orbán-regime relate to each other. Hungary’s current political situation is defined by Prime Minister Victor Orbán, who started out as a young, reform politician (just like János Kádár—a fact that will be of importance later in this study). His political speech in 1989 played an important role in liberating Hungary from the Soviet military presence in 1989. However, now he is frequently criticized for having abandoned the values he fought for and seen as an illiberal, [4] far right politician, whose populist politics relies on Hungarian nationalism. [5] Having an absolute majority in the parliament, he neglected any consultation with the opposition and civil organizations when he passed the new Fundamental Law on January 1, 2012, with which he “set out the vision of a Christian-conservative political community, while also laying the groundwork for political centralization” (Bíró-Nagy), and he is the only European Union leader who has been identified as a “press freedom predator” on the list compiled by Reporters Without Borders (Sugue).

Based on his anti-democratic political maneuvers to monopolize power, Orbán is often compared to János Kádár, the symbolic figure of the dictatorial one-party regime of socialism; therefore, when a satire on the Kádár-regime is created, such as in the film Comrade Drakulich, several issues have very strong resonances to the contemporary audience—even to those young movie-goers who were not yet born when the one-party system was the only system imaginable in Hungary. Such accentuated issues are a strong attachment to the East and a strong criticism of western liberalism and capitalism. Hungary used to be under Soviet political-military influence after the Second World War, and the first steps towards an independent Hungary were made after 1989 when the Russian soldiers were sent home and Hungary sought political alliance with the West. However, this political opening towards the West has been slowly undone by Orbán since 2010. His rhetoric stresses an irresolvable conflict between Hungary and the West, always blaming Western forces, more notably the European Union or George Soros, as powers aiming at weakening the national identity and Hungary’s national power.

Comrade Drakulich should be watched and understood in this context, as it adapts well-known Dracula-motifs, such as the East-West opposition and the threat of colonization to a specifically Hungarian situation. The movie is set in 1972, when Hungary was still under direct Soviet political influence, and János Kádár was General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party. Kádár was appointed to lead Hungary after the 1956 revolution that failed to succeed in getting rid of the Soviet occupation. The Kádár era is characterized by Hungary’s isolation from the West; it is an era when everything that comes from the West was deemed suspicious and potentially dangerous; that is, the West is successfully demonized and monsterized by a monstrous communist leadership—the very idea that the film is rooted in. However, while the first phase of the Kádár era is a clear case of ruthless dictatorship, due to Kádár’s transition into what may be termed as a “liberal communist,” people tend to remember his longer, second phase of his thirty-two-year-long term; therefore, a lot of people look back on the more liberal communist years of the 1970s and 80s with nostalgia.

This nostalgic sentiment and the parallels between Kádár’s and Orbán’s attitudes to the West and the East are components that allow one to see Comrade Drakulich as an entertaining satire about Hungary’s past and present, at which one is allowed to laugh. The East-West tension is dramatized by the vampire character, called Béla Fábián in the movie. The name Béla evokes Béla Lugosi, who had to leave Hungary in 1919 due to his former communist political activities and became well known for his repeated portrayal of Dracula in Hollywood. “Comrade Drakulich,” whose name provides the title, surprisingly, is never uttered in the movie. Yet it informs the audience of what they may expect: “comrade” references the communist past, and “Drakulich” hints at the Dracula-motif, as well as the Russian influence with the characteristic Slavic name ending. The name suggests the party’s hope that Fábián will prove to be a good comrade and will share the secret of his longevity with the Soviets. It also ironically questions what it means to be a good comrade in such a political situation, since Béla Fábián, just like Béla Lugosi, is a Hungarian communist and an ex-patriate. He used to be friends with all those old politicians who are now, in the diegetic present, in power. Once it became evident that the revolution in 1956 would not receive Western military support and was thus doomed to fail, they quickly gave up their political and moral principles and proved themselves to be good comrades for the Soviets, who again tightened their grasp on Hungary. Fábián, however, stayed true to his political beliefs and left the country in 1956 to flee to anti-Soviet Cuba, which sympathized with the Hungarian revolution and was reluctant to officially acknowledge the new Hungarian government (Horváth 64). The film does not explain when and why exactly Fábián moved to America from Cuba after 1959, but his obscure biography supports the image of the ideologically consistent comrade: as the political tension between Cuba and the United States gradually grew in the early 1960s and Cuba opened towards Muscovite power (Horváth 56–61), the only logical move for Fábián was to migrate from Cuba to the United States, the greatest Western power opposing the Soviet Union.

The English language film poster. Note the Dracula-motif as a shadow in the background.

The plot revolves around the identity of Fábián, who returns to Hungary to organize a nationwide blood drive for the Vietnamese (who fight against the Americans at that time, which makes the Vietnam War subtly part of the East-West conflict). While Fábián’s proclaimed goal to help the Vietnamese comrades is a truly communist one, the Hungarian secret police is given the task to follow him and figure out if he is a Western spy. The agents quickly note the surprising youth and the strange behavior of the old Western comrade, so the color red—the color of communism—shifts to represent vampirism, thanks to Fábián’s habit of always drinking blood (camouflaged as some red soft drink) and driving his red Mustang representing Western freedom, a threat to the communist regime. To complete the symbolism, the agents give him the code name “Veres” (which means “deep red”6 and is a common Hungarian family name) even before he could be identified as a vampire.

Image from the movie, the blood drive setting.

The surveillance operation mostly relies on the work of two people, whose names are, again, of importance. Trusted to lead the operation is László Kun, evoking Hungarian history in various ways. László is the Hungarian version for Ladislaus, while Kun means Cuman. These two names together reference the historical figure Ladislaus the Cuman, a thirteenth-century King of Hungary, who allied with the pagan Cumans in Christian Hungary—a relationship that Kun’s serving the communists in a once religious country may subtly allude to. Yet Kun has become a wide-spread surname in Hungary, and another historical figure who may be relevant in the film’s context bore this name: Béla Kun, leader of the Council Republic of Hungary in 1919, who in the Kádár era was considered a true communist hero and a martyr (as he had been ordered executed by Stalin in 1938). The other secret service agent in the surveillance operation is Kun’s life partner, Mária Magyar, whose name references the whole of Hungary: “Magyar” means “Hungarian,” and it is, again, a common family name. Mária is the Hungarian version of Mary; moreover, Hungary is also called Mária’s country (Regnum Marianum in old Latin texts)—an allusion to the tradition which holds that before his death, Hungary’s first king, Stephen I, dedicated the country to the Virgin Mary, as he had no heir of his own. This may be important to note because the communist regime after World War II did not tolerate religions, persecuted the churches, and discarded the idea that Hungary was under the Virgin Mary’s protection so much so that it even tore down the Regnum Marianum Church in Budapest in 1951. Even though Magyar and Kun are a couple, their names reveal the conflict in how they relate to their mission: motivated partly by jealousy, Kun wants to serve the state effectively and capture Fábián as quickly as possible, while Magyar, under Fábián’s seductive effect, ends up questioning the motivations behind her instructions and starts working on saving the vampire. Her resistance to serve the state faithfully demonstrates deviance from what is normative Hungarian behaviour in the Kádár era.

The power dynamics between Fábián and Mária are demonstrated both via their private life—most importantly, their sex scenes—as well as by focusing on Magyar’s agency in a dominantly male working environment, where men are her superiors, and women can only work in various subordinate positions. László is shown as dominant in all areas: as lover—on top during sex—and as a senior agent who later also becomes Mária’s superior during the secret police operation in which Mária is a bait for the suspicious Western visitor. Magyar’s emphatic lack of agency as an agent in the first half of the film is also a nod towards Orbán’s misogynistic politics that systematically undercuts women’s equality in Hungary. [7] The open male chauvinism directed against Magyar from her boss, Comrade Cserkó, does not refrain from extensive body-shaming and objectification, which embarrasses the also-present Kun only because another man gets to look at his lover’s legs—the act is seen by him as a violation of his property, not as a gesture that somehow insults Magyar as a person. Other than that, the whole scene when Magyar’s body is measured up for the task of seducing is presented as normalized: Cserkó’s female secretary does not appear to find the scene in any sense awkward. Magyar does feel embarrassed but has learnt to obey the instructions coming from her (male) superiors. Accordingly, when she is given the task of escorting Fábián and then seducing him, making sure they exchange kisses, she does not question the orders and tries to do her best in achieving the expected results.

Magyar’s behavior, however, radically changes after she has spent some time with Fábián: she demonstrates her agency in various walks of life. Instead of following instructions blindly, she has her own initiative and takes control of the operation, which is neatly contrasted with Kun’s incompetence, emphasized in conjunction with his jealousy. Béla’s vampirism does not even need a kiss to transform the female agent, Magyar’s feelings towards her partner. Kun famously underperforms in bed, as even the neighbors are aware, whereas the vampire’s erotic vibes are irresistible, so this inevitably creates tension in the agents’ love relationship—and a clear shift in their sexual life. In their brief sex scene at the beginning of the film, Magyar is a sexual object who does not receive much enjoyment from the intercourse that brings a quick orgasm for the man. Later, however, when Kun has become obsessed by the idea of his lover enjoying her task of seducing Fábián, Magyar uses sex as a tool to reach her aim: she takes advantage of Kun’s utter jealousy and sexual arousal when she withholds satisfying Fábián until she gets his needed approval to work the way she wants to.

While including a number of sex scenes seems to serve mostly a comic purpose, it highlights the role of the vampire both as a sexual threat [8] and as a colonizing power [9]—two anxieties that Dracula, whose character helps Kun identify Fábián as a revenant, embodies. While Dracula attacks from the East, Fábián is a Western incarnation, but the terror he represents is of similar nature: his Western “spirit” (if one may use this term for a vampire at all) infiltrates communist Hungary and disrupts order. It poses a threat especially to the women, whom Drakulich—just as his literary predecessor—can easily seduce. In Stoker’s Dracula, the vampire’s power to transform modest Victorian women into sexual beings and monstrous predators who lack the instinct to become (not good comrades but) good wives and mothers shakes the foundations of Victorian society. In Comrade Drakulich, Fábián manages to turn Magyar into a person who is able to resist the homogenizing power of the communists. In alliance with Fábián, she disturbs the order of the world that seemed unshakeable.

Magyar’s transformation into a revolutionary has various stages and manifestations and it goes hand in hand with her liberation as a woman. Not only does her more active role in sex support her evolution in this respect but also her growing agency in her work; and when she realizes that she does not want to be an attachment to Kun’s life to prove the male agent’s masculinity, she can finally be her true, authentic self. The climax of this process comes when she gets to drive Fábián’s symbolic red Mustang, as cars are recurring components of constructing and deconstructing gender stereotypes in the film. Magyar’s extensive knowledge of the Volvo’s mechanical system mocks stereotypical gender conceptions and is funnily contrasted with the scene in which Kun is forced to run after his own car in a surveillance situation, because he forgot to pull the handbrake. Yet despite her intellectual ability and her competence, Magyar’s job is to play the role of a stereotypical woman, the seducer, relying mostly on her body and not on her mind. However, we soon learn that she is quick to think and act well even in unexpected situations (unlike Kun, who tends to make absurd decisions) and thus driving the car representing western freedom symbolically highlights her final liberation, her competence in a men’s world and her act of rebellion against the communist state and the sexist world. The scene also foreshadows her transformation into a vampire: as an independently thinking woman with agency, she is a monster who embodies the transgressions the communist state does not tolerate. [10]

Beyond its function as a source of humor and a tool to elicit a critical reaction from both Magyar and the spectators to the patriarchal system (of not only the Kádár era but also of the cultural moment that produced Fábián as a monster, that is, the Orbán era), the emphasis on the sexist milieu as inseparable from the state apparatus symbolically suggests the impotence of the political system. The male agents’ misogyny seems to result from the need to compensate for the overall inefficiency that these men serving this unproductive system display. The lack of competence displayed by the secret police is linked to a problematic masculinity, a discrepancy between image and action. Kun’s weak performance in bed parallels his weak performance as an agent, and his weak performance as a “bodybuilder” to get into shape: one of the highlights of the movie are those few seconds in which Kun’s training offers a fine parody of Rocky Balboa’s iconic training scene in Rocky IV. [11] Early in the film another male agent also demonstrates his unprofessional attitude to his job when he misses Fábián’s early arrival because of a blow job that he enjoys during the secret operation. All these are symptoms whose symbolic significance is summed up by comrade Kádár himself after he has been strongly kicked in the loins several times, but his body shows no reaction to the painful attack. His penis is numb, but he “can still fuck,” as he assures—an old joke implied here about what politicians have been doing to the Hungarian nation and what state Hungary is in after all this activity. From this respective it is of particular importance that in the film women are not shown enjoying sex and their role is to only provide pleasure for the men—the notable exception being when Fábian has sex with the Vietnamese agent and everyone is listening to the woman’s elongated orgasm.

Fábián disrupts order both on the private and on the societal level. His incompatibility with the communist Hungarian world manifests in his garlic intolerance: he is simply unable to coexist with a country in which people tend to oversaturate everything with garlic. Yet, he still offers his cooperation, contingent on Kádár’s apology for the events after the revolution of 1956—a personal trauma for Fábián and a historical trauma for Hungary, plunging the country into communist terror.

A more stylized Hungarian poster creates alliance by the use of black clothes among Magyar, Fábián, and Dracula and creates a contrast between this group of characters and Kun, dressed in white.

His offered cooperation, of course, is about longevity. It turns out that the all-knowing Soviet spy system has been aware of Béla’s vampirism for some time, and they want a vampire to be sent over to them to assure the Soviet Union’s leader Comrade Brezhnev’s immortality, as his health has been on the decline. The real monster, it seems, then, is Soviet communism, which longs for immortality and attempts at monopolizing the color blood red. In this context “the constant sucking of the blood of the Western working class by the bourgeois class” (Neocleous 668) that Marx highlights is subverted: the Western vampire drinks hospital blood, has a liberating effect on the female agent, and turns Magyar into a vampire only to save her from death and offer her a new, even more liberated life; [12] in contrast, Brezhnev’s attempt at becoming an everlasting vampire threatens the constant sucking of the blood of the Eastern working class by the Eastern political elite. This perspective is supported by Kádár’s delusional confession at the end of the film, in which he explains that he does not want the vampire’s bite for he always was, is and will be everlasting—a speech that allows us to see the political present of Hungary as still being controlled by a reincarnation of the past’s monstrous power.

As a satire, this movie ridicules the communist regime that the Soviets so much tried to preserve even when its failure had been evident for a long time. It mocks communists’ naïve belief in the sustainability—a kind of immortality—of communism and it criticizes the impotent political system of the 1970s that seemed to freeze time in Hungary while the Western world produced spectacular social and economic developments. It otherizes and mocks the disturbing past—and offers a relief from the present by indirectly mocking Hungary’s monstrous present with a comedy on the past reflecting on up-to-date political issues. Fábián as a vampire accentuates the paradoxical relation between contemporary Hungarian society and its devouring past. Consumption is at the center in the narrative: Comrade Drakulich aims at coming to terms with the traumatic past by turning it into an absurd comedy in which hardly anyone smiles or laughs (especially not when a political joke is told, so the spectators are given fair warning about the seriousness that underlies the comic treatment) and making it “consumable” by introducing the monster that consumes—radically reimagining the past with the help of the fantastic. The film underscores the predatory, oppressive aspects of communism that have been softened by the nostalgic sentiment; but by means of othering what is about to be lost to the national collective, the undead monster familiarizes and stabilizes the troublesome past that Hungarians should understand and come to terms with.

NOTES

[1] A vérgróf [The Blood Count] (Libri, 2012); A vérgrófnő [The Blood Countess] (Libri, 2012); A vértanú [The Martyr] (Libri, 2013).

[2] Vámpírok múzsája [Muse of the Vampires] (Delta Vision, 2012); Átkozott balszerencse [Cursed Misfortune] (Delta Vision, 2013); Lidércnyomás [Nightmare] (Delta Vision, 2013), Lángmarta örökség [Flame-Touched Inheritance] (Delta Vision, 2014); Attila koporsója [Attila’s Coffin]  (Delta Vision, 2015).

[3] C.f. the brief summary about the novel on Publishing Hungary, arguing that “through the character of the cosmopolitan vampire-grandmother it deconstructs the concepts of nation and homeland” (“Finnugor vámpír,” my translation).

[4] Orbán himself coined the term “illiberal democracy” in 2014 to define his political practice, and he clarified what he means by this in 2019, saying that “The essence of illiberal democracy is Christian liberty and the protection of Christian liberty” (qtd. in Kovács, n.p.).

[5] For a more detailed picture, see Bíró-Nagy’s article.

[6] The most common and neutral word for red in Hungarian is “piros,” whereas “Veres” is a variant of “vörös”, which is the type of red Hungarians use in compounds that relate to the symbolism of communism, such as the red star (“vöröscsillag”) or the Red Army (Vörös Hadsereg) or red flag, (“vörös lobogó,” in contrast with the red in the Hungarian flag, which is always “piros”) as well as for the color blood-red (“vérvörös”). “Veres”, on top of all, differs only slightly in spelling from “véres,” which specifically means “bloody” in English.

[7] Besides his regular patronizing and misogynistic comments on women in his various media performances, Orbán is infamous, among other reasons, for banning Gender Studies in Hungary in 2018 (for details, see Oppenheim) and making it clear that, as his minister responsible for families explained in a notorious video, “women should relish their roles as child bearers and caregivers [… and] that Hungarian women shouldn’t give up their ‘privileges over some misguided fight for emancipation’” (Gall).

[8] The vampire fangs’ penetration into the body has been read as a metaphorical representation of sexual intercourse since Christopher Bentley’s 1972 article on Dracula. For more detail, see Limpár 17.

[9] For details on Dracula as a colonizer, see Arata’s “The Occidental Tourist: Dracula and the Anxiety of Reverse Colonization,” Bundrick’s “ʻCovered in Blood and Dirtʼ: Industrial, Capital and Cultural Crisis in Red Rock and Dracula,” and McKee’s “Racialization, Capitalism, and Aesthetics in Stoker’s Dracula.”

[10] On the monster’s transgressive roles, see Cohen in more detail.

[11] It adds to the humor that the scene is an anachronistic parody, as even the first part of the Rocky film series was made four years after the diegetic present of Comrade Drakulich. Kun’s training, however, directly alludes to Rocky IV (1985), where Rocky’s opponent is from the USSR. The differences in training circumstances are the highlighted part of the film: the Russian boxer trains in an advanced training facility and uses steroids to boost his strength, while Rocky trains in nature in Siberia; therefore, Kun’s parodical moves evoke the West-East conflict and the “natural” method of his training becomes not the presentation of the perseverance and the noble fairness of his play, as for Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV, but a representation of communist Hungary’s lack of fitness culture and Kun’s failure to ever reach Rocky’s representative masculine features.

[12] That is to say, to let “Birdy,” (which is the code name Magyar receives from the secret police) out of her cage.

WORKS CITED

Arata, Stephen D. “The Occidental Tourist: Dracula and the Anxiety of Reverse Colonization.” Victorian Studies, vol. 33, no.4, Summer 1990, pp. 621–45, http://www.jstor.org/stable/382779. 

Bentley, Christopher. “The Monster in the Bedroom: Sexual Symbolism in Bram Stokerʼs Dracula.” Dracula: The Vampire and the Critics. Edited by Margaret L. Carter, UMI Research Press, 1988, pp. 25–34.

Bíró-Nagy, András. “Illiberal Democracy in Hungary: The Social Background and Practical Steps of Building an Illiberal State.” Barcelone Centre for International Affairs, Jan. 2017, www.cidob.org/en/articulos/monografias/illiberals/illiberal_democracy_in_hungary_the_social_background_and_practical_steps_of_building_an_illiberal_state

Bundrick, Christopher. “‘Covered in Blood and Dirt’: Industrial, Capital and Cultural Crisis in Red Rock and Dracula.” The Southern Literary Journal, vol. 47, no.1, Fall 2014, pp. 21–34, doi: 10.1353/slj.2014.0023. 

Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture. (Seven Theses).” Monster Theory: Reading Culture, edited by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, University of Minnesota Press, 1996, pp. 3–25.

Comrade Drakulich, directed by Márk Bodzsár, Filmkontroll, 2019.

“Finnugor vámpír.” Publishing Hungary, Petőfi irodalmi Múzeum, hunlit.hu/szecsinoemi.

Gall, Lydia. “Hungary’s Family Minister Undermines Equality for Women.” Human Rights Watch. 17 Dec. 2020, www.hrw.org/news/2020/12/17/hungarys-family-minister-undermines-equality-women.

Harrison, Mia Imani. “Eastern Europe’s New Liberation Movement: Hungarofuturism and its Parallels with Afrofuturism.” Interview with Zsolt Miklósvölgyi, Márió Z. Nemes, Orsolya Bajusz, and Dominika Trapp. C&, 12 Aug. 2020, contemporaryand.com/magazines/hungarofuturism-and-its-parallels-with-afrofuturism/.

—. “How a Futurist Hungarian Arts Movement Offers New Means of Autonomy.” Hypoallergic, 30 Oct. 2020, hyperallergic.com/596816/hungarofuturism-arts-movement-eastern-europe/.

Horváth, Emőke. “A magyar–kubai diplomáciai kapcsolatok létrejöttének sajátos fordulatai: 1959–1961.” AETAS, vol. 33. no. 1, 2018, pp. 50–68.

Kovács, Zoltán. “PM Orbán at Tusványos: ‘The essence of illiberal democracy is the protection of Christian libertyʼ.” About Hungary. 27 July 2019, abouthungary.hu/blog/pm-orban-at-tusvanyos-the-essence-of-illiberal-democracy-is-the-protection-of-christian-liberty.

Limpár, Ildikó. The Truths of Monsters: Coming of Age with Fantastic Media. McFarland, 2021.

McKee, Patricia. “Racialization, Capitalism, and Aesthetics in Stoker’s Dracula”. NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 36, no.1, Autumn 2002, pp. 42–60.

Miklósvölgyi, Zsolt and Márió Z. Nemes. “Hungarofuturista Kiáltvány.” [Hungarofuturist Manifesto.] Litera, 10 Jan. 2018, litera.hu/irodalom/elso-kozles/hungarofuturista-kialtvany.html

Neocleous, Mark. “The Political Economy of The Dead: Marx’s Vampires.” History of Political Thought, vol. 24, no. 4, Winter 2003, pp. 668–684, http://www.jstor.org/stable/26220011.

Oppenheim, Maya. “Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban Bans Gender Studies Programmes.” Independent, 25 Oct. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/hungary-bans-gender-studies-programmes-viktor-orban-central-european-university-budapest-a8599796.html

Rocky IV, directed by Sylverster Stallone, United Artists, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Chartoff-Winkler Productions, 1985.

Sugue, Merlin. “Reporters Without Borders lists Viktor Orbán as ‘press freedom predator’.” Politico, 5 July 2021, www.politico.eu/article/reporters-without-borders-lists-hungarian-prime-minister-viktor-orban-press-freedom-predator-silencing-media-journalists-hungary/

Ildikó Limpár, senior lecturer of English at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, holds a PhD in English and an MA in Egyptology and works in the field of Monster Studies. Her monograph entitled The Truths of Monsters: Coming of Age with Fantastic Media was published by McFarland in 2021 and focuses on the use of monsters as literary tools addressing life challenges in coming-of-age fantasy and science fiction. She is editor of Displacing the Anxieties of Our World: Spaces of the Imagination (published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in 2017) and Rémesen népszerű: Szörnyek a populáris kultúrában, an anthology of essays in Monster Studies written in Hungarian and published by Athenaeum in 2021.


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