András Mészáros: Hungarian Language and Literature Education at the Royal Academy in Bratislava and at the Lycée in the 19th Centrury

The educational institutions mentioned in the title belonged in the 19th century not only to the most important Upper-Hungary’s schools, but they had also an important place in the cultural history of Hungary. Although, their role was not identical during the entire century. The Royal Academy was at the forefront of higher education in Hungary at the first part of the century, and then from 1875 (when the philosophical faculty was re-established), and the Evangelic Lycée was leading to the last third part of the century (when the theological academy was separated from it). Although in both institutions the teaching of Hungarian language and literature was present on different levels, with different emphasis, and in different role of chronology. The study deals with its history and contentual components.

It is a fact that the academies were found by the Ratio Educationis at the end of the 18th century at the seat of study districts. In Upper-Hungary in two places: Bratislava (Pozsony) and Košice (Kassa). In Kassa the precedence of higher education were already present, since the two faculties (philosophy and theology) of the Jesuit University operated there before, although in Pozsony only the Evangelic lycée had the character of a college (since theology was also taught there). Originally, Nagyszombat was given the academy as a compensation for the lost university (that was moved to Buda), but in 1784 this institution was moved to Pozsony. (Let me mention that at the same time the national seminary was moved to the castle in Pozsony, which operated here just for a short time, because soon competence related conflicts arose between the theological faculty of the Buda University and the Pest seminary. Later the national seminaries were wound up, and priest teaching, beside theology training on university level, was moved to archbishop and bishops seats.). The functioning of the academy in Pozsony – except for the attempt to terminate its operation in 1803 – was undisturbed to the suppression of the .war of independence.

From the above-mentioned it is evident that the teaching of Hungarian language and literature did not mean the spreading of the Hungarian language at the academy. József II’s effort to germanise was of short life, after which Latin returned and was the official language to the 40’s of the19’th century. The total elimination of Latin as teaching language was accomplished in 1848. After this between 1850 and 1860 there was a period when German, and not Hungarian was the teaching language of the academy.

If the authors mentioned in the study should be included in a development history, then it would be very simple. Leaving out only those who deal with language teaching, we can take the history of writing Hungarian literature history as a basis for comparison. The beginning is the traditional genre of „historia litteraria”, of which most known representative of the 18th century is Wallaszky followed by Belnay. After Wallaszky a change in view commences, of which Samuel Pápay’s work is the first example. Pápay’s paper, that he intended to be a textbook, originally tried to ease the teaching of the Hungarian language and to inspire studying literature (Badics 1897:1–5). In fact, this is the idea of Georch, Cselkó, and Ferenczy with different emphasis and solutions. Georch “only” gives an example with a literary work, but Cselko makes a selection, and Ferenczy writes his literature history to Petőfi. We know that Toldy used Ferenczy’s work in his summary. There is a change to the national attitude in the case of Cselko and Ferenczy that is later represented by Németh and Lehr. The so-called national classicism and the Beöthy’s positivistic literature history attitude is represented by Hoffmann, Albert, and Vutkovich. Consequently we can state that the teachers of both higher education institutions were up-to-date, i.e. followed the development of writing literature history of Hungary and were its faithful representatives.