Stephen Guy-Bray


Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Generation West: Hungarian Modernism and the Writers of the Nyugat Review (2010)

This dissertation examines how the Nyugat review played an essential role in the development of literary and cultural modernism in early twentieth century Hungary. My chief argument is that modern Hungarian literature and culture, under the auspices of Nyugat, are part of that Central European canon which had shaped some of the most influential literary and critical theories. The review nurtured over one-hundred and twenty writers, artists and intellectuals who left a lasting impact on Hungarian literature and culture. These authors are known as the Nyugat-generation, a term which I adopt as Generation West. They contributed to the journal in Budapest between 1908 and 1941. My dissertation focuses on three of the most important contributors to Nyugat: Margit Kaffka, Dezső Kosztolányi and Antal Szerb and their respective works, Colours and Years, Esti Kornél, and Journey by Moonlight. They exemplify their generations’ perspectives and illuminate the course of Nyugat over three distinct periods. Inspired by the modernist currents of Western Europe which they espoused, these writers along with other members of the Generation West experienced “in-betweenness,” a condition characterized by the values of the traditional and the modern, East and West, nation and the individual, and feudal and bourgeois, which marked and also fuelled their output. Nyugat has come to epitomize the experience of Hungarian identity expressed through the themes of nationhood, nostalgia and commemoration. To demonstrate the journal’s legacy in Hungary today, I conclude by analyzing the events of the Nyugat 100-year anniversary that took place in 2008. My dissertation tells the story of how a community of writers and artists from a small nation in East-Central Europe instituted a profound literary and cultural movement under the aegis of a journal. I consider my study a call for reworking models of literary and cultural history and for expanding existing epistemologies of modernism.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Touching the air of paradise lost: an investigation into air's instability (2022)

This paper traces how Milton characterizes the physically unphysical air of its world in two ways: put simply, physically and absurdly. It will serve as an interesting gateway to understanding the vitality of the very things that surround and incarcerate us. In an epic deeply rooted in the dichotomy between good and evil, how does the natural fit into such conflicts and distinctions? Is nature exploitable, or perhaps the only truly neutral force in a world where no one or thing else can be neutral? In the climate of Renaissance exploration and curiosity, Milton’s portrayal of the natural, agential world is particularly interesting. His treatment of air transcends the limiting bounds of tendency, typicality, and topicality; for Milton, air is a multifunctioning, multidimensional, tangible and yet wispy enigma. I will use that as a starting point to explore air as a force in the world of Paradise Lost, to examine the ways in which Milton uses and differs from Renaissance attitudes and understandings of air. His use of the concept of air in Paradise Lost is complex; it is clear that he is engaging with certain scientific ideas about air as a gas, but there is a tendency to give air unexpected properties of physicality, gender and power. This tension between standard ideas and unique modifications is what makes examining Milton’s usage of air such an interesting pursuit. While he was not the only seventeenth-century poet concerned with materiality, and more broadly vitality, his take is made unique by his abstract experimentation with and insistence for the multifaceted nature of nature: his treatment of nature far exceeds that of greenery and transcends the bounds of personification as it engages with metaphysical contemplations about an air that is both essential to life and has the ability to produce divine judgments, change colour, shape and size, act as a physical conduit for chemical and magical reactions, and be literally substantiated in the physical world.

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