Endre Ady

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Endre Ady

Endre Ady (November 22, 1877January 27, 1919) was a Hungarian poet, one of the most important poets not only in the 20th century but in Hungarian literature in general.

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[edit] Biography

Ady was born in Érmindszent (now a Romanian town called Adyfalva in Hungarian and Ady Endre in Romanian) in Transylvania into an impoverished noble family. Endre was the elder of two children. He attended a Protestant school in Zilah (today Zalău, Romania), then studied law in Debrecen. After finishing his studies he became a journalist, and published his first poems in a volume called Versek (Poems) in 1899. He soon became tired of Debrecen (the town later became the symbol of backwardness in his poetry) and moved to Nagyvárad (today Oradea, Romania), a city with rich cultural life.

Working as a journalist and spending time with like-minded people broadened his horizons. He published a new collection of poems in 1903, but remained relatively unknown. The turning point came in August 1903 when he met Diósiné Brüll Adél, a rich married woman who was living in Paris but visited her home in Nagyvárad. Léda (as he called her in his poems) became his Muse; his love for her and his visit to Paris, where he followed her, helped him to develop his talent. He visited Paris seven times between 1904 and 1911. When he came back after his first visit (which lasted for a year), he began to work for the newspaper Budapesti Napló (Budapest Journal) where he published more than 500 articles and many poems.

Being interested in politics, he became a member of the radical group Huszadik Század (Twentieth Century). In 1906 he published his third book of poetry, Új versek (New Poems) – which is a landmark in literature, marking the birth of modern Hungarian poetry –, but it was his fourth collection, Vér és arany (Blood and Gold) which brought him real success and critical acclaim.

In 1906 the government was overthrown and since the newspaper Ady was working for supported the government, Ady decided to leave the country. He went to Paris again. In 1907 he had to leave his job at the Budapesti Napló.

In 1908 the first issue of a new periodical called Nyugat (The West) published a poem and an essay by Ady. He worked for his periodical for the rest of his life; from 1912 he was one of the editors. Also in 1908 in Nagyvárad he was one of the founders of a literary circle called A Holnap (The Tomorrow). The circle published an anthology of some poems of Ady and others including Mihály Babits, Gyula Juhász and Béla Balázs. The poems of this anthology met disapproval and lack of comprehension. Many people attacked the anthology for containing erotic poems, also, Ady was criticized for his unpatriotic feelings in his poem, in which he emphasized the contrast between the rich cultural life he longs for and the realities of the cruel Hungarian peasant world.

Ady disliked that his name was mentioned together with other poets, about whom he thought that they were jumping on his bandwagon. He wrote a short story (The duk-duk affair) in which he mocked those who are following the trend set by him.

The Nyugat is undoubtedly the most important periodical in the history of Hungarian literature. Ady was not only an editor of the paper, but also its symbol. Since the Nyugat didn't deal with politics, it wasn't enough for Ady who was interested in politics, so he wrote for other newspapers too. He criticized heavily the political situation of the time. He didn't like the nationalism of the leading parties, but also criticized the antinationalism of social democrats; knew how much Hungary was behind the more developed countries but clearly saw the faults of Western countries too.

From 1909 he often needed treatment in sanatoriums for his health was deteriorated by his hedonistic lifestyle. The political situation became critical, the workers were protesting against the government, Ady saw a revolution approaching. His personal life was also in a crisis, his affair with Léda became more and more a burden for him; with Ady becoming a famous poet Léda lost her leading role in the relationship. He broke up with her in April 1912.

In 1914 he met twenty-year-old Berta Boncza, with whom he had been corresponding since 1911. In 1915 they married without her father's permission. In his poems he called her Csinszka.

After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, Ady saw that war was approaching. Everyone he knew was enthusiastic about the war, and he was left alone with his fears and worries about the future. He published his last book of poetry in 1918. He was already suffering from terminal illness when wrote his last poem, Üdvözlet a győzőnek (Greetings to the Victor). He was elected as president of the Vörösmarty Academy, an organization of modern writers, but couldn't deliver his opening speech; he died in Budapest on 27th January 1919.

[edit] His poetry

In the beginning of the 1900s Hungarian poets were claiming to follow in the footsteps of Sándor Petőfi writing in an imitated folksy style yet lacking Petőfi's vision (and, mostly, talent) which wasn't able to renew itself. Ady was the first to break with the traditions and promote the new, modern style. Although he liked to see himself as a lonely, misunderstood revolutionary, in truth most of the poets of his generation took sides with him (and many of them imitated his style).

His first two books of poetry didn't show anything new; he was still under the influence of 19th century poets such as Petőfi or János Vajda. The first elements of his own style appeared not in his poems but in his essays and other writings.

Ady was undoubtedly influenced by the works of Baudelaire and Verlaine. He often uses symbolism, his recurring themes are God, Hungary, and fight for survival. Other themes are present only in certain periods of his life (money, God, life and death, Léda, Csinszka).

[edit] Books of poetry

  • Versek (Poems) (1899)
  • Még egyszer (Once again) (1903)
  • Új versek (New Poems) (1906)
  • Vér és arany (Blood and Gold) (1907)
  • Illés szekerén (On Elijah's Chariot) (1909)
  • Szeretném, ha szeretnének (I'd Love To Be Loved) (1910)
  • Minden Titkok versei (Poems of All Secrets) (1911)
  • Menekülő Élet (The Fleeing Life) (1912)
  • Margarita élni akar (Margarita Wants To Live) (1912)
  • A magunk szerelme (Our Love) (1913)
  • Ki látott engem? (Who Saw Me?) (1914)
  • A halottak élén (Heading the Dead) (1918)
  • Az utolsó hajók (The Last Ships) (1923)

[edit] Quotes

"Talent has its brutal fate in every era, even in the Golden Ages."

[edit] External links


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