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Volume 20

Austrian and Habsburg Studies

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The Monumental Nation

Magyar Nationalism and Symbolic Politics in Fin-de-siècle Hungary

Bálint Varga

300 pages, 19 illus., 11 tables, 1 map, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-313-2 $130.00/£92.00 Hb Published (December 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-314-9 eBook

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“In addition to charting the limits and varieties of nationalist mobilization in Habsburg Hungary, this well-researched study reveals an important and ultimately damaging dynamic of the centralist liberal state itself.” • Slavonic and East European Review

“This is an impressive work of scholarship, readable and compelling, that integrates local and national history, sheds new light on the Hungarian state’s efforts to integrate its minorities, and will prove thought provoking and enlightening for both students and scholars of modern Central European history.” • H-Nationalism

“This is a splendid and ambitious study of the tension between nationalizing ambitions and the stubborn realities of local politics. Varga has managed to synthesize primary and secondary sources from more than six languages, putting all of it into a coherent, accessible narrative that yields real analytic insights into the political culture of late nineteenth-century Hungary.” • Paul Hanebrink, Rutgers University

“Hungary’s Millennial monuments comprise a fascinating case study in nineteenth-century nationalism. Demonstrating impressive research skills, Bálint Varga has written a careful, comparative analysis that takes the reader to the farthest corners of Habsburg Hungary to consider the politics of public space.” • Robert Nemes, Colgate University


From the 1860s onward, Habsburg Hungary attempted a massive project of cultural assimilation to impose a unified national identity on its diverse populations. In one of the more quixotic episodes in this “Magyarization,” large monuments were erected near small towns commemorating the medieval conquest of the Carpathian Basin—supposedly, the moment when the Hungarian nation was born. This exactingly researched study recounts the troubled history of this plan, which—far from cultivating national pride—provoked resistance and even hostility among provincial Hungarians. Author Bálint Varga thus reframes the narrative of nineteenth-century nationalism, demonstrating the complex relationship between local and national memories.

Bálint Varga has been a research fellow at the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences since 2013. In 2015, he was awarded the R. John Rath Prize from the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Subject: 18th/19th Century History
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


List of Tables and Images



Chapter 1. The Challenge of Integration: Hungary in the 19th Century
Chapter 2. Anchoring a Millennium-Old Past in the Hungarian Minds


Chapter 3. Pressburg and Theben
Chapter 4. Nitra
Chapter 5. Munkács
Chapter 6. Brassó
Chapter 7. The Magyar Inland: Pannonhalma and Pusztaszer
Chapter 8. Semlin
Chapter 9. Local Conditions of National Integration


Chapter 10. Prologue: The Many Faces of the Millennium
Chapter 11. Signs for Eternity: The Millennial Monuments
Chapter 12. The Millennial Monuments in the Public Space, 1896–1918

Appendix I: Tables
Appendix II: Name locator


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