Gyula Illyés

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Illyés, Gyula


Born Nov. 2, 1902, in the village of Récegres. Hungarian poet; son of a blacksmith. After the defeat of the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919, he lived in Paris (until 1926). He studied at the Sorbonne.

In the realistic poems of his first collections, The Heavy Earth (1928) and The Mowed Rows (1930), and in the narrative poem Three Old Men (1931), Illyés expressed his fidelity to his native people. The accusatory notes in his work were intensified in the narrative poem I Speak of Heroes (1935) and the collection Under the Flying Heavens (1935). Illyés participated in the first Congress of Soviet Writers (1934) and published a book entitled Russia (1935). The lives of poor peasants are portrayed sympathetically in the novel The People of the Puszta. Illyés was also the author of the book Petofi (1936). In his poetry collections Order Amid the Ruins (1937), Uncertain Future (1938), and Looking Fixedly (1947), bitter, fatalistic notes alternate with critical, humanistic tendencies.

After the liberation of Hungary (1945), Illyés’ poetry became more optimistic. He received the Kossuth Prize for his screenplay Two Men (1950), about Petofi and J. Boehm, the Polish revolutionary who participated in the national liberation struggle of the Hungarian people in 1848–49, and the tragedy The Example of Ozora (1952), which dealt with the struggle of the people’s militia against the Austrian armies in 1848. In the 1950’s, Ulyès experienced an ideological crisis, which he overcame by turning to the life of labor and the wisdom of the people (the collection New Poems, 1961).


Osszes verse, vols. 1–3. Budapest, 1947.
In Russian translation:
Rukopozhatiia. Preface by D. Samoilov. Moscow, 1969.
“Obed v zamke.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1971, no. 9.


A magyar irodalom törtenete, vol. 6. Budapest, 1966.


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suffix, forming relative adjectives, denoting origin in Slavic, found also in Germanic and Thracian (for the latter, see Illyes 1988: 212).
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