Materials for a History of Hungarian Academic Orientalism: The Case of Gyula Germanus

in Die Welt des Islams
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This article provides materials for an institutional history of academic Hungarian Orientalism through the life of Gyula Germanus (1884-1979). Using hitherto unexploited archives, this text explores his education, integration into academia, and career up to 1939. I argue that Germanus was an assimilated Hungarian of Jewish origin with a strong loyalty to the state. His two conversions – to Calvinism in 1909 and to Islam in 1930 – also transformed him from a minor Turkologist into a popularly acclaimed Arabist. This study demonstrates that academic Orientalism as a national science was a contested vehicle of social mobility in the Hungarian transition from an imperial to a nation-state setting. 


Materials for a History of Hungarian Academic Orientalism: The Case of Gyula Germanus

in Die Welt des Islams

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References

  • 4

    Gyurgyák JánosA Zsidókérdés Magyarországon (Budapest: Osiris Kiadó2001) pp. 61-87. Vera Ránki The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion: Jews and Nationalism in Hungary (New York: Holmes and Meier 1999) pp. 72-77.

  • 6

    Suzanne L. MarchandGerman Orientalism in the Age of Empire: Religion Race and Scholar­ship (Washington, DC: German Historical Institute2009) pp. 74-78.

  • 8

    Goldziher IgnácNapló (Budapest: Magvető1984) p. 285.

  • 9

    Germanus“A félhold fakó fényében” p. 18.

  • 12

    Germanus“A félhold fakó fényében” p. 23.

  • 13

    Letter dated 25 June 1910from Germanus to Director of the Theological Academy of the Reformed Church in Box 1 A/13 A Dunamelléki Református Egyházkerület Ráday Levéltára (the Raday Archive of the Dunamelleki District of the Hungarian Reformed Church in the following RL).

  • 15

    Alder and DalbyThe Dervish of Windsor Castle p. 492.

  • 18

    Officially from 15 October 1906. “Matrikelschein” University of Vienna Box 36 MFM.

  • 23

    Germanus“A félhold fakó fényében” p. 81.

  • 26

    Alder and DalbyThe Dervish of Windsor Castle p. 492.

  • 27

    Letter dated 14 December 1907Box 36 MFM. Antall “Germanus Gyula (1884-1979)” pp. 306f.

  • 28

    Letter dated 25 June 1910from Germanus to the Director of the Theological Academy of the Reformed Church Box 1 A/13 RL. I have not found any trace of Germanus at any Oxford college so far.

  • 29

    Letter dated 7 October 1908from Vámbéry to Germanus Box 36 MFM.

  • 30

    Letter dated 19 February 1909from Vámbéry to Germanus Box 36 MFM.

  • 31

    Germanus arrived in Budapest in June 1909. Letter dated 25 June 1910 from Germanus to the Director of the Theological Academy of the Reformed Church Box 1 A/13 RL. Cf. 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL. Thus his later narrative of collecting “the honey of knowledge for years” in England (Germanus “A félhold fakó fényében” p. 81; repeated in Antall “Germanus Gyula [1884-1979]” p. 307) is exaggerated as he spent 18 months (January 1908-June 1909) there.

  • 32

    Letter dated 25 June 1910from Germanus to the Director of the Theological Academy of the Reformed Church Box 1 A/13 RL. For the exact date cf. his “Nyilatkozat” (Statement) dated 30 May 1940 490 d K636 MOL.

  • 38

    Letter dated 16 January 1912from Kúnos to Minister in KAIH I BCEL. Note dated 30 April 1911 in KAIH I BCEL.

  • 41

    Ligeti Lajos“Az Akadémia könyvtára és az orientalisztika”Magyar Könyvszemle1 (1977) pp. 3-13. There has been also significant research on the Ottoman conquest of Hungary including the quest to regain the precious medieval library of King Matthias. Arbanász Ildikó and Csorba György “Magyar kutatók az isztambuli levél- és könyvtárakban a második világháború előtt” in: Dobrovits Mihály (ed.) A kísérlet folytatódik – Vámbéry tanulmányok II (Dunaszerdahely: Lilium Aurum 2005) pp. 7-46.

  • 47

    Letter dated 17 October 1912Germanus to ? in 1. csomag 1. csomó P1384 MOL.

  • 52

    Letter dated 16 January 1915to Kúnos Ignácz igazgató from Vörös Félhold Támogatására Alakult Országos Bizottság Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL.

  • 53

    Letter dated 15 February 1915“Alispán” to Kúnos Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL. Cf. also a letter dated Lőcse 21 February 1915 “Alispán” to Germanus Box 36 MFM.

  • 54

    Letter dated 27 October 1914from Magy. Kir. Miniszterelnökség (?) to Germanus Box 36 MFM.

  • 57

    Letter dated 5 March 1915from Minister of Education to “Keleti Kereskedelmi Akadémia Felügyelő Bizottsága”. Box 1914/15 cf. also letter dated 17 April 1916 from Kúnos to Ministry Box 1916/17 KAIH BCEL.

  • 59

    Germanus“A félhold fakó fényében” pp. 84-101.

  • 60

    Letter dated 6 July 1915Box 36 MFM.

  • 61

    Letter dated 15 September 1915from Kúnos to Ministry Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL.

  • 62

    Letter dated 16 September 1915from Ministry to Kúnos Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL. Cf. the previous argument of having no other teachers!

  • 63

    Letter dated 17 October 1915from Kúnos to Ministry Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL.

  • 64

    Letter dated 7 March 1918from Secretary of State to Kúnos Box 1918/19 KAIH BCEL.

  • 65

    Letter dated 16 December 1915from Germanus to Magyar Királyi Keleti Kereskedelmi Akadémia Felügyelő Bizottsága Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL.

  • 68

    A handwritten note dated 9 May 1916Box 1914/15 KAIH BCEL. Yet in the curriculum for the first semester of academic year 1916/17 only Turkish classes are registered under his name. Sheet dated 10 October 1916 Box 1916/17 KAIH BCEL.

  • 70

    Dr. Germanus GyulaTúrán (Budapest: A szerző saját kiadása [The writer’s own publication]1916) p. 2.

  • 74

    Germanus“A félhold fakó fényében” p. 97.

  • 75

    Farkas“Turánizmus” pp. 86-95.

  • 76

    During 1916he wished to be promoted from “instructor” to “university lecturer” (rendes tanár). Letter dated 17 April 1916 from Kúnos to Ministry Box 1916/17 KAIH BCEL. Refusal dated 4 May 1916 from Ministry to Kúnos Box 1916/17 KAIH BCEL. In 1917 his request was again refused. Letter dated 30 October 1917 from the Minister of Religion and Education to Khuen-Héderváry Károly Box 36 MFM.

  • 78

    Farkas“Turánizmus” p. 117.

  • 80

    Copy of a letter dated 17 October 19196/b 35 KKDH BCEL.

  • 81

    A report by Germanus dated 3 October 19216/b 35 KKDH BCEL. The document survived as part of a court process against a teacher Dr. Géza Birkás who accused Germanus of Communist cooperation letter dated 8 November 1921 from the Dean to the Minister 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL. Germanus signed a student’s (Ferenc Szanter) certificate in March 1919 in Budapest Box 1918/19 KAIH BCEL.

  • 87

    Letter dated 11 February 1922in 5/b 4 I/880 KKDH BCEL. Kúnos – who remained Institute director for its first year – asked for Germanus’ promotion on the argument that he also taught at the Theological Academy and that his promotion had been delayed only by the war. Letter dated 3 May 1922 from Kúnos to “Méltóságos Uram” (Teleki?) 5/b 4 I/880 KKDH BCEL.

  • 90

    Letter dated 30 January 1923written to the Faculty by an unknown individual (illegible signature probably Dengl János) in 5/b 5 485 KKDH BCEL.

  • 91

    Letter dated 15 February 1923Germanus to ? (the Dean?) accompanied by medical proof dated 14 February 1923 in 5/b 5 485 KKDH BCEL.

  • 96

    Letter dated 29 September 1923Germanus to ? in 5/b 5 485 KKDH BCEL.

  • 98

    Letter dated 11 October 1924from the Faculty (Dean?) to ? 5/b 6 I/1735 KKDH BCEL.

  • 99

    A note by the Dean dated 16 February 1926and the complaints of Germanus dated 3 January 1927 both in 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL.

  • 100

    Germanus GyulaTörök nyelvtan – Gyakorlókönyv olvasmányokkal az arab-török írás elsajátítására (Budapest: Lingua1925).

  • 101

    Note dated 8 February 19266/b 35 KKDH BCEL in which Germanus refers to having already worked as a translator at the Court of Budapest about which there is no data so far.

  • 102

    Letter dated 9 May 1927Germanus to Dean 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL.

  • 105

    Note dated 26 June 19266/b 35 KKDH BCEL. In his memoirs he writes that thanks to his “book” the Government of Mustafa Atatürk invited him to new Turkey in 1928: Germanus “A félhold fakó fényében” p. 103. The book in question is an article Germanus Gyula “A török forradalom” in: Budapesti Szemle n. 604 (March 1928) pp. 342-371 that was also published in French in three parts during March-April-May 1928 as Jules Germanus “Pensées sur la Révolution Turque”in: Revue de Hongrie Vol. 21 n. 27-28-29. Yet in another (unpublished) memoir he dates his trip to 1927. “Emlékezéseim a PEN Clubra” dated 12 February 1966 Box 28 MFM.

  • 106

    Germanus“A félhold fakó fényében” p. 107.

  • 110

    Quoted in Bangha“Tagore magyarországi látogatása” p. 53.

  • 114

    Bangha Jöttem a Gangesz partjairól p. 135.

  • 115

    Letter dated 29 November 1928from P.C. Mahalanobis to Germanus Box 36 MFM.

  • 116

    Letter dated 8 January 1929from Germanus to the Minister in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja 490 d K636 MOL.

  • 117

    Letter dated 18 February 1929from Minister of Finance to Minister of Education and Religion in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja in 490 d K636 MOL. Telegraph dated 30 February 1929 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL.

  • 120

    GermanusAllah Akbar! pp. 25-72.

  • 121

    Germanus“A félhold fakó fényében” pp. 115-133. Bangha Jöttem a Gangesz partjairól pp. 137-146 gives a detailed evaluation of the couple’s life in India.

  • 122

    Letter to Tagore 1930 quoted in Bangha Jöttem a Gangesz partjairól p. 140.

  • 123

    Note dated 1 April 1930in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja in 490 d K636 MOL.

  • 124

    Letter dated 24 June 1930Germanus (from Shillong) to Magyary and letter dated 9 September 1930 Germanus to Teleki in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja in 490 d K636 MOL.

  • 125

    GermanusAllah Akbar! p. 27.

  • 127

    Germanus“A félhold fakó fényében” p. 126. G. Hajnóczy Bengáli tűz p. 516.

  • 131

    Letter dated 2 August 1931from Germanus to Ministry of Education in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja in 490 d K636 MOL.

  • 132

    Letter dated 3 August 1931from Germanus to the Dean (Teleki) in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja in 490 d K636 MOL. Cf. Balazs Ablonczy Pal Teleki (1879-1941): The Life of a Controversial Hungarian Politician (Boulder: East European Monographs Budapest: Institute of Habsburg History 2006).

  • 133

    Letter dated 20 January 1932Dean to the Ministry and letter dated 31 March 1932 Dean to the Ministry both in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja 490 d K636 MOL. Cf. also the letter of Germanus to the Dean dated 21 December 1931 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL.

  • 136

    Germanus Gyula“Vámbéry Ármin”Nyugat (December 1932) electronic version http://epa.oszk.hu/00000/00022/00548/17157.htm 16 November 2011.

  • 138

    Lederer“A magyarországi iszlám újabb kori történetéhez II. rész” pp. 55-65.

  • 140

    Lederer“A magyarországi iszlám újabb kori történetéhez II. rész” p. 53.

  • 143

    Letter dated 26 September 1935Germanus to “Polgármester” (Mayor of Budapest) “több ízben tárgyaltam Abdul Latiffal a Gül-Baba bizottság megbízásából [...] kérésemre pathologikus módon reagált [...] önmagából kikelve bosszút forralt.” Box 35 MFM. (“I had discussions with Abdul Latif on behalf of the Gül-Baba committee [...] hearing my request he reacted in a pathological way [...] completely beside himself he planned revenge.”)

  • 147

    Letter dated 5 May 1933from Abdul Latif to Le Consul D’Egypte à Vienne; (old system of cataloguing:) ʿĀbdīn Maḥfaẓa 195 Dār al-Wathāʾiq al-Qawmiyya (Egyptian National Archives).

  • 148

    Anonymous article“al-Islām fī l-Majar” in al-Siyāsa al-Usbūʿiyya (1937?) press cut in Box 35 MFM.

  • 149

    Letter dated 2 August 1931from Germanus to the Ministry of Education in Germanus Gyula személyi dossziéja 490 d K636 MOL.

  • 152

    Letter dated 16 March 1934from Dean to Pál Förster chargé d’affairs 6/b 35 KKDH BCEL.

  • 153

    GermanusAllah Akbar! pp. 129-133.

  • 154

    GermanusAllah Akbar! p. 127.

  • 155

    GermanusAllah Akbar! pp. 157-180.

  • 156

    Letter dated 24 May 1934from Iqbal to Germanus in English Box 36 MFM.

  • 161

    GermanusAllah Akbar! p. 176.

  • 162

    GermanusAllah Akbar! pp. 352-356.

  • 164

    Letter dated 7 June 1935to Minister from Germanus 490 d K636 MOL.

  • 165

    GermanusAllah Akbar! p. 359.

  • 168

    Letter dated 26 September 1935Germanus to “Polgármester” Box 35 MFM.

  • 169

    Letter dated ? October 1935to Minister from Gül Baba Committee Box 35 MFM.

  • 173

    Letter dated 22 June 1936to Germanus from Egyetemi Tanács Box 35 MFM.

  • 174

    Letters dated 14 June 1936 and 15 June 19366/b 35 KKDH BCEL.

  • 178

    Philip K. HittiHistory of the Arabs from the Earliest Times to the Present (New York: St. Martin’s Press1953) p. 119. Hans-Jürgen Philipp (review author) “Bibliografija Saudovskoj Aravii (Bibliographie Saudi-Arabiens)” in: WI Vol. 26 (1986) pp. 243ff.

  • 182

    Németh“Die Orientalistik in Ungarn 1938” p. 13.

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