_DSC0006 másolat.jpg


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.

Az utolsó indiánkönyv

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.



The illustrations at the start of each chapter are a tribute to the Hungarian edition of Cooper's legendary series of novels, The Great Indian Book (Nagy Indiánkönyv) and the wonderful artworks of Ádám Würtz. The technique of digital collage has made it possible to supplement the black and white drawings for this volume with details of archival photographs and colours. So the overall effect is modern, but still familiar from our childhood.



In each chapter I worked with a different colour and a unique set of patterns. The patterns were inspired by an embroidery motif, more specifically the cross stitch. Accordingly, all 79 texts begin with a uniquely designed embroidered initial. 

editors: Gábor Gyukics, Attila Jász & Imre Wirth

proofreading: Anna Benedek

cover image: István Szajkó: A bakonyi indián, diptichon, részlet (The Bakony Indian, diptych, detail)

graphic design & illustration: Tímea Andorka 

photo: Tímea Andorka 

fonts: TT Bells by TypeType

printed by: Pátria Nyomda Zrt.

special thanks to Éva Gajda

© Petőfi Irodalmi Múzeum 

© the authors