Northern Illinois University Press

The Once and Future Budapest

Robert  Nemes

Outstanding Academic Title, Choice 2006

"Nemes's imaginative and carefully researched book provides invaluable insight into the complex worlds of nineteenth-century nationalism and urbanism in Central Europe."—American Historical Review

"Erudite and entertaining.... Nemes skillfully weaves together material from a wide variety of sources to produce a richly textured analysis."—Journal of Modern History.

"Stimulating and well-written ... informative, original, and highly readable."—Slavic Review

Tracing the complex process by which Budapest became a Hungarian city, Robert Nemes offers an open-ended picture of nation-building and urban development. In 1800, the towns of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda-which would later unite to form Budapest-were dusty, provincial, and largely German-speaking. By century's end, Budapest had become a burgeoning metropolis, a capital, and a manifestly Hungarian city. Few nineteenth-century cities grew as rapidly, and in none was nationalism woven so tightly into the urban fabric.

The Once and Future Budapest explores Hungarian nationalism in daily events and maps its inroads into every corner of urban life. Drawing upon newspapers, memoirs, and other largely untapped sources, Nemes shows how the national idea influenced painting, architecture, literature, and music, as well as dress and the names of streets, shops, and even children.

The Hungarian national movement gave many residents of Budapest their first taste of politics. By focusing on reading clubs, ballrooms, streets, and other urban spaces, Nemes explains how ordinary men and women participated in, made sense of, and helped define modern national movements. The campaign to nationalize Budapest had a dark side as well, for it often involved intolerant language, exclusionary practices, violent street demonstrations, and vandalism.

The influence of nineteenth-century nationalism endures in Budapest and can be seen in the city's art, architecture, and culture. The Once and Future Budapest will appeal to all who are interested in this city and its rich, varied past.

(2005) 259 pp., notes, bibliography, index
ISBN: 978-0-87580-337-1
cloth $42.00

Robert Nemes is Assistant Professor of History at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

Table of Contents

One—Buda-Pest, Ofen-Pest
Two—Mud, Dust, and Horses
Three—Club Life
Four—Women and Cultural Politics
Five—Streets and Squares
Six—The Revolutionary Capital
Seven—The Road to Budapest
Conclusion—The Hungarian Capital

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-337-1
cloth $42.00