Question: Talk about Hungarian literature since 1880.
The number of Magyar writers has since 1880 increased to an extent hardly expected by the reading public in Hungary itself. In 1830 there were only 10 Magyar periodical publications; in 1880 we find 368; in 1885 their number rose to 494; in 1890 to 636; and at the beginning of 1895 no fewer than 806 periodical publications, written in the Hungarian language, appeared in Hungary. Since that time the number of periodical as well as of non-periodical literary works has been constantly rising, although, as in all countries with a literature of rather recent origin, the periodical publications are, in proportion to the whole of the output, far more numerous than the non-periodical. This remarkable increase in the quantity of literary work was, on the whole, accompanied by a fair advance in literary quality.
In lyrical poetry, among the poets who first came to the fore in the 'sixties several were active after 1880, such as Joseph Komócsy, whose "Szerelem Könyve" has become a popular classic; Victor Dalmady, who published in the 'nineties his "Hazafias Költemények" ; and Ladislas Arany, son of the great John. Among the prominent lyrists whose works, although partly published before 1880, belong largely to the later period, the following deserve special mention: The poetry of Emil Ábrányi is filled with the ideas and ideals of Victor Hugo. Ábrányi excels also as a translator, more particularly of Byron. Julius Reviczky also inclined to the Occidental rather than to the specifically Magyar type of poets; his lyrics are highly finished, aristocratic and pessimistic. Count Géza Zichy published his lyrical poems in 1892. Joseph Kiss is especially felicitous in ballads taken from village and Jewish life, and in love-songs; Alexander Endrödi, one of the most gifted modern lyrical poets of Hungary, has the charm of tenderness and delicacy together with that of a peculiar and original style, his "Kurucz nóták" being so far his most successful attempt at romantic lyrics. Louis Bartók is a remarkable satirist and epigrammatist. Ödön Jakab leans towards the poetic manner of Tompa, with perhaps a greater power of expression than the author of the "Virágregék" ; Jakab wrote "Hangok az ifjuságból," "Nyár," both collections of lyrical poems. Louis Pósa has made a sphere of his own in his charming poems for and about children, "Édes anyám." In Andor Kozma, author of "A tegnap és a ma," "Versek," etc., there is undoubted power of genuine satire and deep humor. Michael Szabolcska, author of "Hangulatok," showed great promise; Julius Vargha cultivates the "népies" or folk-poetry as represented by Hungary's two greatest poets, Petöfi and Arany; Vargha has also published excellent translations of Schiller and Goethe. Perhaps scarcely less remarkable are the modern Magyar lyrists, such as, of the older set, John Bulla, J. D. Temérdek, Gustavus Csengey, Paul Koroda, E. Julius Kovács, Ladislas Inczédi, Julius Nógrádi Pap, Julius Szávay, John Dengi ; among the juniors, Anton Radó, Louis Palágyi, Géza Gárdonyi, Zoltán Pap, Eugen Heltai, Julius Rudnyánszky, Árpád Zemplényi, Julius Szentessy, Emil Makai, Cornelius Gáspár, Julius Varsányi, Alexander Luby, Eugen V. Szászvárosi, Endre Szabó, political satirist. In the most recent lyrics of Hungary there is a growing tendency to socialistic poetry, to the "poetry of misery." In epic poetry Josef Kiss's "Jehova" is the most popular work. Amongst rhymed novels--novels in verse form--the best is the "Délibábok höse," in which Ladislas Arany tells, in brilliantly humorous and captivating fashion, the story of a young Magyar nobleman who, at first full of great ideals and aspirations, finally ends as a commonplace country squire.
Among Hungarian novels we may distinguish four dominant "genres" or tendencies. The first is represented almost exclusively by Maurus Jókai. To the school so perfectly represented by Jókai belong Árpád Kupa ; Robert Tábori ; and Julius Werner. The second class of Hungarian modern novelists is led by the well-known Koloman Mikszáth, a poet endowed with originality, a charming "naïveté," and a freshness of observation from life. A close observer of the multifarious low life of Hungary, Mikszáth has, in his short stories, given a delightful yet instructive picture of all the minor varied phases of the peasant life of the Slavs, the "Palócok," the Saxons, the town artisan. Amongst his numerous works may be mentioned "A jó palóczok" ; "Egy választás Magyarországon" ; "Pipacsok a búzában" ; "A tekintetes vármegye" ; "Ne okoskodj Pista" ; "Szent Peter esernyöje," etc. Mikszáth has had considerable influence upon other writers. Such are Victor Rákosi ; Stephen Móra ; Alexius Benedek, the author of numerous distinctly sympathetic and truly Magyar tales, fables and novels, one of the most gifted and deserving literary workers of modern Hungary ; Géza Gárdonyi ; Charles Murai ; Stephen Bársony. The third class of Magyar novelists comprises those cosmopolitan writers who take their method of work, their inspiration and even many of their subjects from foreign authors, chiefly French, German, Russian and also Norwegian. A people with an intense national sentiment, such as the Hungarians, do not as a rule incline towards permanent admiration of foreign-born or imported literary styles; and accordingly the work of this class of novelists has frequently met with very severe criticism on the part of various Magyar critics. Yet it can scarcely be denied that several of the "foreign" novelists have contributed a wholesome, if not quite Magyar, element of form or thought to literary narrative style in Hungary. Probably the foremost among them is Sigismund Justh, who died prematurely in the midst of his painful attempt at reconciling French "realistic" modes of thought with what he conceived to be Magyar simplicity. Other novelists belonging to this school are: Desiderius Malonyai ; Julius Pekár ; Thomas Kobor ; Stephen Szomaházy ; Zoltán Thury ; also Desiderius Szomory, Ödon Gerö, Árpád Abonyi, Koloman Szántó, Edward Sas, Julius Vértesi, Tibor Dénes, Ákos Pintér, the Misses Janka and Stéphanie Wohl, Mrs Sigismund Gyarmathy and others. In the fourth class may be grouped such of the latest Hungarian novelists as have tried, and on the whole succeeded, in clothing their ideas and characters in a style peculiar to themselves. Besides Stephen Petelei and Zoltán Ambrus must be mentioned especially Francis Herczeg, who has published a number of very interesting studies of Hungarian social life ; Alexander Bródy, who brings a delicate yet resolute analysis to unfold the mysterious and fascinating inner life of persons suffering from overwrought nerves or overstrung mind ; and Edward Kabos, whose sombre and powerful genius has already produced works, not popular by any means, but full of great promise. In him we may trace the influence of Nietzsche's philosophy. To this list we must add the short but incomparable "feuilletons" of Dr Adolf Ágai, whose influence on the formation of modern Hungarian literary prose is hardly less important than the unique "esprit" and charm of his writings.
Click any of the links below to automatically search the given site for: Talk about Hungarian literature since 1880.