The Philosophical Background of His Political Views
Zdenĕk V. David
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
360 pages, cloth
The importance of the political thought of Thomas G. Masaryk (1850−1937), the first president of Czechoslovakia, has been based on two considerations. One was his image as the principal shaper of the democratic culture in inter-war Czechoslovakia. The other image was as a model of political prudence and sagacity not only for East-Central Europe, but one recognized universally. He was called by his contemporaries “the wisest European of today” and “the greatest man in Europe.” John MacCormac, writing in the New York Times in 1930, saw in Masaryk a personage of the same caliber as Washington, Lincoln, and Wilson.
Masaryk brought to his political activity the assets of profound background in scholarship, as well as a religious flavor. A leitmotif of Masaryk’s intellectual search was his desire to establish a religious dimension to the human experience. Unable to accept his native Catholicism, whether traditional or liberal, he turned to the two modernizing trends in German Lutheranism that had jettisoned traditional dogma and liturgy.
Zdenĕk V. David’s main interest is to probe the mind of the man as revealed through his writings on philosophy and religion, and to map out his position in relation to the principal Austrian, British, French, and German – to some extent also American and Russian – thinkers with whom he dealt in his philosophical and religious writings. He focuses on the ideas behind Masaryk’s political pronouncements and activities.
The key concept of his title is that of federalism, understood as a unifying factor for the peoples of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the First World War, even those resolutely in favor of dismantling Austria-Hungary recognized that the Danubian area required some sort of federal unity, if only for economic reasons.
One of the main actors of the narrative is Karl of Habsburg-Lorraine, the last Emperor-King of Austria-Hungary. As soon as Austria-Hungary fell apart, Karl started actively to try to reconstruct his empire by writing a plan for a new con/federal monarchy and by contacting the pope and the leaders of the Entente regarding this plan.
Bécsi’s book is a study in virtual history, what might have been, and reading it one is tempted to follow this line of thought as well. The shadowy figures that cross its pages—the Marquis de Castellone who sought to win over the Foreign Office to Karl’s plans, the better-known Stepan Radić who played with federal schemes in an effort to advance the Croatian cause, or the obscure swindler Karol Bulissa—all failed in their attempts.
The present configuration in Central Europe, with the emergence of the Visegrad bloc and disintegration in the Balkans, seems to make Zoltán Bécsi’s work more relevant than ever.
ISBN: 978-1-9433596-17-1 Helena History Press 411 pages
This book is not about how present-day Hungary has recently lost so much of the prestige it won with its heroic uprising in 1956 and its role in the fall of the communist satellites in 1989. Rather, it is the story of the formation of Hungary’s image abroad before and during World War I. That contributed to the exceptionally harsh terms the 1920 Trianon Peace Treaty meted out to Hungary: the historic kingdom was reduced to one third of its territory and population, leaving 3.5 million Hungarians outside the new borders. Despite the constant discrimination the Hungarian minorities have faced in most of Hungary’s neighbours in language use, education and administration, today they number about 2.5 million and they want to enjoy all the rights international law recommends and local self-government would provide.
Géza Jeszenszky chronicles how the very favourable reputation of Hungary and the Hungarians, established in their 1848–49 war for a liberal constitution and independence from Habsburg absolutism, was seriously damaged in the decade preceding the First World War. He shows its causes: the internal political crisis in 1904–06 undermined the notion that Hungary was a stabilizing and liberalizing factor in the Habsburg Monarchy; the almost daily London Times reports by its extremely well-informed correspondent, H.W. Steed, exposed the short-sighted social and electoral policies of Hungary’s political elite; and increasing awareness of the unfair treatment of the non-Hungarian national minorities, as revealed (with bias and exaggeration) by the political writer R.W. Seton-Watson. All of which coincided with the ascendancy of progressive social and political reforms in Britain, in the light of which Hungary appeared “backward”. Finally, what counted most, was that despite its strong Anglophile sympathies Hungary found itself among the enemies of Great Britain in the Great War, on the side of Germany, the power which was seen as a threat to the British Empire and its command of the seas.
The relationship between foreign policy and the national image is followed through the chronological account of the metamorphosis of Hungary’s image in Britain. The book also explores the alleged similarities between English and Hungarian society and values. A final chapter describes how succeeding generations of Hungarians of various political stripes reflected on that lost prestige and its role in the making of the national tragedy, the Treaty of Trianon.
About the Author, Géza Jeszenszky
Géza Jeszenszky is a retired professor of history at Corvinus University of Budapest, as well a politician and diplomat. Instrumental in the transition of Hungary into a democracy in 1989, he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first freely elected government (1990-94) after the fall of communism. From 1998 to 2002 he served as the Hungarian ambassador to the United and States and to Norway and Iceland from 2011 to 2014.
He was visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in Warsaw, Poland, and in Cluj/Kolozsvár in Romania. He is the author of a large number of scholarly publications. His latest book in English is Post-Communist Europe and Its National/Ethnic Problems (Budapest, 2009). His memoir and analysis of Hungary’s relations with its neighbors during the years of the regime change (in Hungarian) was published in 2016. This present work is a translation of his highly regarded history of the changing of view of Hungary in Great Britain 1894-1918. (Az Elveszett Préztizs) and has recently been revised and updated by the author for the anglophone reader.
Ines Rieder, Diana Voigt Translated by Jill Hannum and Ines Rieder Foreword by Jeanne Wolff Bernstein
Ines Rieder (1954–2015), writer, activist, archivist, curator, translator, historian and internationalist.
Diana Voigt (1960–2009), scholar of German language and literature and theater arts.
Jill Hannum, freelance editor and translator, also the author of AIDS in Nepal (1997).
Jeanne Wolff Bernstein, is a practicing analyst in Vienna, a member of the Wiener Arbeitskreis fur Psychoanalyse (WAP) and of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PIN C). She choirs the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna, and is on the faculty of the New York University Post-Doctoral Program for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
ISBN: 978-1-943596-12-6 378 pages, with 70 black-and-white photos, paperback $30
Now finally available in English, this biography of Margarethe Csonka-Trautenegg (1900–1999) offers a fully-rounded picture of a willful and psychologically complex aesthete. As Freud’s never-before-identified “case of female homosexuality”, her analysis continues to spark often heated psychoanalytic debate. Margarethe’s (“Sidonie’s”) experiences spanned the twentieth century. Jewish by birth, she fled upper-class life in Vienna for Cuba to escape the Nazis, only to return post-war to a “leaden” city and relative poverty. Fleeing again, she took various jobs abroad, and returned permanently only in old age. The interviews and taped oral histories that form the basis of this book were produced during the final five of her years. Well-researched historical background information supplements the story of Margarethe’s journey across time and continents.
At age 17, Margarethe Csonka fell deeply in love with a stunning and notorious upper-class courtesan, attempted suicide when she was rejected, and was sent by her parents to Prof. Freud to be “normalized”. The attempted “cure” was a failure.
This biography of Margarethe Csonko-Troutenegg (1900-1999) offers a fully-rounded picture of a willful and psychologically complex aesthete. As Freud’s never before identified “case of female homosexuality,” her analysis continues to spark often heated psychoanalytic debate. Margarethe’s (“Sidonie’s”) experiences spanned the twentieth century. Jewish by birth, she fled upper-class life in Vienna for Cuba to escape the Nazis, only to return post-war to a “leaden” city and relative poverty. Fleeing again, she took various jobs abroad, and returned permanently only in old age. The interviews and toped oral histories that form the basis of this book were produced during the final five of her years. Well-researched historical background information supplements the story of Margarethe’s journey across time and continents.
“The Story of Sidonie C. is more than the biography of a woman so complex she baffled Dr. Freud, it is also a biography of the twentieth century, its political disasters and social changes.”
-ANDREAS BRUNNER co-director of QWIEN (Center for Queer History, Vienna)
Praise for The Story of Sidonie C.
Thanks to extensive historical research and quotations from contemporary files, documents and magazines, Ines Rieder and Diano Voigt were able to create a sensitive biography of this self-confident, courageous woman, and a vivid picture of the Sigmund Freud era in Vienna and the lesbian subcultures there in the 1920s and 30s. The authors follow beautiful, aloof, upper-middle class Sidonie Csillog through the nearly 100 years of her life, from her analysis with Freud to her lost- minute flight from the Nazis, and her restless, decodes-long search for a new home ofter WWII. The Story of Sidonie C. is more than the biography of a woman so complex she baffled Dr. Freud, it is also a biography of the twentieth century, its political disasters and social changes
-Andreas Brunner, co-director of QWIEN (Center for Queer History, Vienna), is a gay activist, historian, curator and tour guide specializing in the queer history of Vienna.
You hove such shrewd eyes. I would never wont to hove you as my enemy.” As “Sidonie C.” recalled many decodes later, these were Sigmund Freud’s porting words upon ended his treatment of her in 1919 . … Her story will appeal to a brood range of readers interested in general biography, twentieth-century history, queer- and gender studies and culture studies. But especially for students of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic history, it offers a unique opportunity. It is rare for psychoanalysts to learn anything about their patients’ lives ofter they leave treatment, much less to read a full biography. The English-speaking analytic audience is now in the fortunate position of being able to pursue the development of this intriguing woman and to draw their own conclusions regarding Freud’s and Locon’s insights into her.
-Jeanne Wolff-Bernstein is a practicing analyst in Vienna, a member of the Wiener Arbeitskreis fur Psychoanalyse (WAP) and of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PIN C). She choirs the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna, and is on the faculty of the New York University Post-Doctoral Program for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
Freud worried that his clinical histories tended to read like novellas. Thanks to Ines Rieder and Diano Voigt, we ore now given the opportunity of discovering the larger-than-fiction life of Sidonie Csillog, the protagonist of Freud’s lost published case, his controversial treatment of a “young homosexual woman.” Questions left unresolved in Freud’s account find their answers when we follow the amazing life of this daring modern heroine who, Jewish by birth, fled the Nazis in her beloved Vienna to spend time in Cuba, Thailand, Spain, Brazil, Fronce, and the United States- always pursuing her wish for freedom and self-expression. The vivid details of her life history yield new keys for a revisionist reading of the psychoanalytic treatment of homosexuality.
-Patrkia Gherovki is a psychoanalyst, author of Please Select Your Gender and Transgender Psychoanalysis, among other books, and co-editor of Lacon On Madness: Madness Yes You Can’t; Lacon, Psychoanalysis and Comedy; and Psychoanalysis in the Barrios.