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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Audikovszky M, Pados G, Seres I, Harangi M, Fulop P Katona E, Illyes L, Winkler G, Katona EM, Paragh G.
The Rumanian Jarlna 'field under cultivation' (not found in Albanian) was considered by Russu (apud Illyes 232) to be a Balkan substratal remnant, although Neroznak (1978: 204) proposes a Latin origin for it, i.
Both poor and talented, they were looking for jobs or a Maecenas to support them; in this respect, Illyes was the luckier, for he could find work with an insurance company and was published in the leading literary review Nyugat almost immediately--whereas Jozsef, the more openly left-wing radical of the two, had strained relations with the literary establishment.
See Tibor Dery, "Behind the Brick Wall," Adam Wazyk, "Critique of the Poem for Adults," (first two lines of poem quoted above), and Tom McGrath, "Against the False Magicians," in "Four Poems," (five lines of poetry quoted above) in The New Reasoner (hereafter NR), 1 (Summer 1957), 39-53, 56-60; Arthur Miller, "The Freedom of the Writer," and Nazim Hikmet, "Three Poems," and "The Swimming Pool," NR, 2 (Autumn 1957), 114-131; Alexander Yashin, "Levers," NR, 3 (Winter 1957-1958), 26-38; Tibor Dery, "Odysseus," NR, 4 (Spring 1958), 58-79; Guyla Illyes, "Ode to Bartok," NR, 5 (Summer 1958), 69-72; Adam Wayzk, "The Railway Carriage," NR, 6 (Autumn 1958), 32-34; Lajos Tamasi, "A Rhapsody," NR, 7 (Winter 1958-1959), (second two lines of poetry quoted above), 75-78; and W.
Most of the names known to anglophone readers (from street, square, and monument names in Budapest if not from their poems) are in the first volume: Balint Balassi, Sandor Petofi, Imre Madach, Endre Ady, Dezso Kosztolanyi, Attila Jozsef, Miklos Radnoti, Gyula Illyes, Sandor Weores, and some others who died too recently to have been monumentalized.
It is a fairly heterogeneous collection, but what is lost in structural unity is won on intimate details, for it contains correspondence between the editor of Valasz and such eminent Hungarian writers as Gyula Illyes, Laszlo Nemeth, J'nos Pilinszky, and Zoltan Szabo.
Between 1926 and 1928 Illyes had a love affair with Boriska, Sinko's sister; for a while they were thinking of marriage, though her middle-class Jewish parents living in Yugoslavia were suspicious of this young socialist firebrand of a poet.
The authors of the poems are Balint Balassi, Daniel Berzsenyi, Sandor Petofi, Mihaly Babits, Attila Jozsef, Gyula Illyes, and Sandor Weores.
Kiacz Hanania, Tony 286 Handke, Peter W78, W80 Herbert, Zbigniew W56 Hinojosa-Smith, Rolando A3, A64 Illyes, Gyula W3, W54 Jabra, Jabra Ibrahim 214, 220, 223 -- A Face, 1952 216 -- Self-Portrait 217 -- A Face, 1951 222 -- back cover of Spring issue Jabra, Lamia 221 Jabra, Yousef 220 Jandl, Ernst W89 Khrushchev, Nikita W34 Kiacz, Daniel T.
Gyula Illyes Charon's Ferry: Fifty Poems Bruce Berlind, tr.
The moment when Illyes can think about the city and the political division in Hungary arrives with the rebuilding of Liberty Bridge, which he witnesses from a nearby pontoon bridge in 1946 ("Amikor a Szabadsaghidra a kozepso reszt folszereltek" [When the Central Part Was Fitted into Liberty Bridge]).
Poets such as Gyula Illyes, Sandor Weores, and Janos Pilinszky, major representatives of Hungarian modernism, are among Transtromer's favorites.