The program of cultural refinement in 19th century Hungary: The Example of Count Széchenyi and Baron Kemény

Ferenc Horkay Hörcher


In an effort to give a historical depth to recent discussions on taste in Aesthetic theory, this paper recovers a 19th century Hungarian paradigm. While taste first came to the forefront of philosophical reflection with the Enlightenment and especially with Kant, by now there is a growing literature on the survival of that discourse in the first half of the 19th century. The present author contributed to the research, which tried to show that in Hungary Count István Széchenyi, an influential political reformer, can be regarded as an author, who for socio-political reasons relied heavily on the British discourse of politeness and taste. This paper aims to show that the same discourse lived on and was employed in the second half of the 19th century in socio-political debates. The example is Baron Zsigmond Kemény, an admirer and follower of Széchenyi, who transformed the discourse into a bourgeois political-educational program.


Taste; Politeness; Refinement; István Széchenyi; Zsigmond Kemény; 19th century; Hungary

Full Text:

PDF (English)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



ESPES. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics (ISSN 1339-1119) is published biannually by Faculty of Arts, University of Presov, Slovakia and the Society for Aesthetics in Slovakia

   This journal is open access and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.