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Abstract

Patricia D. Fox's article, "What's Past is Prologue: Imagining the Socialist Nation in Cuba and in Hungary," examines the symbolic mooring of Cuban and Hungarian identity, recuperated Caliban from William Shakespeare's The Tempest and an ever conflicted Faustus/Adam from Imre Madách's Az ember tragédiája, respectively. Despite serial cosmological fragmentations and political upheaval, the present analysis holds that production and reproduction of these founding figures in the process of imagining the socialist nation represent an ongoing litigation of meaning. This process then conserves a marked thematic continuity through temporal conceptions, totality of exegesis, the mix of rational and mythical, and the recoding of past symbols to serve the present reality and to indirectly realign the past and prophesy the future. Beyond the formative and transformative points of similarity between the two cases, the essay discusses culturally specific divergences and the impact of differing experience and mentalities on literary and filmic expression. In conclusion, the study first offers a tentative model of socialist nation, positing a framework within which to understand and complicate Cuban and Hungarian sui generis patterns and then describes in the more universal context of narrating the nation those practices and characteristics common to that genre.

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