Meaning of HUNGARIAN LITERATURE in English

the body of written works produced in the Hungarian language. The earliest written literature in Hungary was religious writing in Latin, beginning about the middle of the 11th century. When written texts in Hungarian started to appear, they were almost exclusively religious in nature and were often translations from Latin. The earliest extant text in Hungarian is the Halotti Beszd, a short but beautiful and original funeral oration written in about 1200. This written literature coexisted with an oral tradition of folk songs and tales, of which only a few scattered second-hand fragments remain from early times. Throughout the European Middle Ages religion dominated the written literature. The most influential single work in the development of a Hungarian national language was Gspr Krolyi's translation of the Bible (1590), which appeared at the end of the Hungarian Reformation. Nevertheless, during this time a body of secular literature was growing out of the native oral tradition, and in the late 16th century its first luminary appeared, the poet Blint Balassi, who foreshadowed the great Petofi of the 19th century with his mingling of themes of love and nationalism. The 17th century was marked by the onset of the Baroque in the western portion of Hungary under the Habsburgs. The most outstanding prose writer of the Counter-Reformation, as well as the initiator of the Baroque, was Pter Pzmny, who was influential in both his philosophy and his style. The most important 17th-century poet was Mikls Zrnyi; his great epic poem Szigeti Veszedelem (1651; The Peril of Sziget) combined both Renaissance and Baroque elements. The 18th century was essentially a time of stagnation until the Enlightenment, when western European ideas poured new energy into Hungarian letters. The first proponent of the ideas of the Enlightenment was the didactic writer Gyrgy Bessenyei. The major surge came in Hungarian poetry, where two men especially deserve mention: Dniel Berzsenyi mastered classical form, but had few substantial ideas, and Mihly Csokonai Vitz was a gifted lyric poet in the Hungarian tradition. Ferenc Kazinczy was an influential personality whose lasting contribution was to initiate a broad language reform. The Enlightenment gave way to a brief period of Romanticism, which included several important figures. Jzsef Katona wrote Bnk bn (the bn was a high Hungarian dignitary), the first great play (1820) of the Hungarian national theatre. Ferenc Klcsey was a poet and statesman who among other things wrote the Hungarian national anthem. Mihly Vrsmarty, the finest Romantic poet, wrote on both personal and national themes. By the 1840s and '50s, as Romanticism was fading and realism emerging, two of the greatest Hungarian poets were writing. Sndor Petofi was a passionate, nonintellectual, forceful, innovative poet whose best poems combine revolutionary fervor and direct, simple language. Jnos Arany, a friend of Petofi, also wrote popular poetry, but he wrote carefully rather than impulsively, maintaining a distance between himself and his poems. Imre Madch is primarily known for writing Az ember tragdija (1861; The Tragedy of Man), a superior religious-philosophical dramatic poem. Though the novel became established as a genre early in the 19th century, it was not until realism took hold that serious novels began to appear, starting with the early political novels of Jzsef Etvs. Other outstanding novelists followed. Zsigmond Kemny wrote tragic, generally depressing psychological novels. Mr Jkai is the most popular Hungarian novelist; he wrote many superficial but entertaining books with a strong romantic element. Klmn Mikszth is notable for his ironic novels and stories, which often explored the interaction and conflict between the various classes of Hungarian society. The most spectacular burst of fruitful literary activity in Hungary came at the beginning of the 20th century, beginning with the great Symbolist poet Endre Ady. He was a brilliant lyric poet, a revolutionary, a magnificent stylist, and a deep and candid observer of himself and the world around him. The international reputation and influence of Ady, as well as of other Hungarian poets, would be much greater if they had written in a more accessible language. Though poetry generally suffers in translation, Ady's language is particularly unsuited for translation. Ady was the spiritual leader of the group of writers associated with the highly influential leftist literary magazine Nyugat (begun 1908; The West). A step behind Ady were four other fine poets: Mihly Babits, an outstanding intellectual and humanist; Dezso Kosztolnyi, the best Hungarian Impressionistic poet; rpd Tth, an original, melancholy lyric poet; and Gyula Juhsz, an Impressionist with deep roots in Hungarian tradition. Zsigmond Mricz was the outstanding prose writer of the Nyugat school. In his realistic stories and novels, he drew effective characterizations economically and treated a multitude of social themes. Frigyes Karinthy wrote short stories with a strong satirical and grotesque element. Of the new writers who emerged between the world wars, most were socialists or fellow travelers. Gyula Illys began as a radical peasant writer and became the dean of Hungarian poetry. The poetry of the proletarian writer Attila Jzsef is full of the conflict between seething emotions and intellectual, rational thought. Mikls Radnti wrote some concise, tragic poems at the end of his life in a Nazi concentration camp. Lszl Nmeth was an important psychological novelist and philosopher. Tibor Dry was an influential socialist writer whose unorthodox views got him into trouble after World War II and resulted in his intimate involvement in the 1956 Revolution. Among the younger writers who came to the fore after World War II, the poets Jnos Pilinszky and Lszl Nagy are perhaps the most important figures. the body of written works produced in the Hungarian language. No written evidence remains of the earliest Hungarian literature, but through Hungarian folktales and folk songs elements have survived that can be traced back to pagan times. Also extant, although only in Latin and dating from between the 11th and 14th centuries, are shortened versions of some Hungarian legends relating the origins of the Hungarian people and episodes from the conquest of Hungary and from the Hungarian campaigns of the 10th century. Additional reading Albert Tezla, An Introductory Bibliography to the Study of Hungarian Literature (1964), and Hungarian Authors: A Bibliographical Handbook (1970), are annotated sources on items available from major U.S. and European book collections. Antal Szerb, Magyar irodalomtrtnet, 6th ed. (1978), is an informative history, an earlier edition of which is available also in a German translation: Ungarische Literaturgeschichte, 2 vol. (1975). An exhaustive historical coverage is provided in Istvn Str (ed.), A magyar irodalom trtnete, 6 vol. (196466). Bla Pomogts, Az jabb magyar irodalom, 19451981 (1982), is an informative critical study of 20th-century literature. In English, see D. Mervyn Jones, Five Hungarian Writers (1966), which gives a detailed analysis of the works of the writers Mikls Zrnyi, Kelemen Mikes, Mihly Vrsmarty, Jzsef Etvs, and Sndor Pet ofi. Tibor Klaniczay (ed.), A History of Hungarian Literature (1982; originally published in Hungarian, 1982), provides broad coverage. Lrnt Czigny, The Oxford History of Hungarian Literature from the Earliest Times to the Present (1984), is a comprehensive chronologically arranged work, with emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Tibor Klaniczay Denis Sinor George Gmri

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