BOOK DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION
The Last Book of the Indians
Az utolsó indiánkönyv
Publisher: Petőfi Irodalmi Múzeum, Budapest, Hungary | 2021
Editors: Gábor Gyukics, Attila Jász & Imre Wirth
The book is an accompanying publication of the exhibition "The copper-skinned twilight - In the footsteps of Hungarian Indianism" at the Petőfi Literary Museum. The anthology includes 79 "Indian" texts by contemporary authors.
The title of the volume is both a reference to The Last of the Mohicans and to the iconic Hungarian edition of James Fenimore Cooper's novel cycle, The Great Indian Book (Nagy indiánkönyv), published in 1965.
In Hungarian literature, the Indian has been a metaphor for friendship, heroism, moral nobility, love of nature, loyalty and freedom for centuries. The image of the heroic Indian is a misconception based on reading experience, rooted in the romanticising novels of Cooper and May, and has little to do with real Indian culture. 'Indianism' is a way of life that has bound generations of people together in Hungary. For decades, being an Indian was a kind of national play experience to which almost everyone has some emotional attachment. The Indian is often seen as a child at play, a witness to the difficulties of growing up, but the Indian can also embody the need to oppose the oppressive communist regime and the legacy of genocide. The Indian appears in the Transylvanian wilderness and in the only gypsy child in the class. The tradition of 'Indianism' is strongly linked to the mythology of threat, defeat, humiliation, and failure in the face of overwhelming odds.