János Arany

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The native form of this personal name is Arany János. This article uses the Western name order.
The poet Arany

János Arany (March 2, 1817October 22, 1882), was a Hungarian journalist, writer, poet, and translator. He is often said to be the "Shakespeare of ballads" – he wrote more than 40 ballads which have been translated into over 50 languages, as well as the Toldi trilogy, to mention his most famous works.


[edit] Life

He was born in Nagyszalonta, Bihar county, which is now part of Romania. At the time of his birth, his elder sister was already a married woman and his parents, György Arany and Sára Megyeri, were very elderly. János Arany learned to read and write early on, and was reported to read anything he could find in Hungarian and Latin. Since his parents needed support early in Arany's life, he started working at the age of 14 as an associate teacher.

From 1833 he attended the reformed college of Debrecen where he studied German and French, though he quickly became tired of scholarly life, and temporarily joined an acting troupe. Later on, he worked in Nagyszalonta, Debrecen, and Budapest in teacher, newspaper editor, and various clerk positions.

After Toldi, one of his most famous works, was published, he and Sándor Petőfi became friends (see their letters: To János Arany by Petőfi and Reply to Petőfi by Arany). His best friend's death in the 1848 Hungarian Revolution had a great impact on him.

Arany died in Budapest.

[edit] Works

He translated three dramas of Shakespeare into Hungarian, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet and King John, and they are considered to be some of the greatest translations into Hungarian in history; he also helped other Hungarian translators with his comments, and translated works by Mikhail Lermontov, Aleksandr Pushkin, and Molière. It was said that he taught himself English in prison by comparing an English version of the Bible to a German one while imprisoned for his role in the Revolution.

He is today considered as one of the greatest Hungarian literary figures beside Sándor Petőfi, Endre Ady and Attila József.

[edit] Poems in English

  • The Legend of the Miraculous Hind or The Legend of the Wondrous Hunt
  • Years, O Years That Are Still to Come
  • I Lay Down the Lyre
  • In Autumn
  • Retrospect
  • Memorials
  • The Bards of Wales
  • On the Slope
  • Family Circle
  • The Nightingale
  • Reply to Petőfi
  • The Mother of King Matthias
  • The Two Pages of Szondi
  • Duel at Midnight
  • Bier-right or Ordeal by Blood
  • Becky Scarlet
  • Corn Husking
  • Annie with Golden Hair
  • The Seamstress Girls
  • Consecration of the Bridge
  • Mistress Aggie / Mistress Agnes
  • Imprisoned Souls

[edit] Memory

The first scientific monography about Arany was written by Frigyes Riedl.

[edit] External links

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