Illyés, Gyula

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Illyés, Gyula

(dyo͝o`lŏ ĭl`yās), 1902–83, Hungarian poet and novelist. Illyés came from a poor peasant family. He was educated in Budapest and Paris and supported himself with menial jobs, writing only in his spare time. During World War II he was associated with the journal Nyugat. After the liberation of Hungary he became a member of parliament, withdrawing from public life when the Stalinists rose to power. In his poetry Illyés was a spokesman for the oppressed peasant class. Greater universality and an appeal for national and individual liberty mark his later work.

Bibliography

See his autobiographical novel, People of the Puszta (1936, tr. 1967); selected poetry in A Tribute to Gyula Illyés, ed. by T. Kabdebo and P. Tabori (1960).

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).

WORKS

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.

REFERENCE

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

O. K. ROSSIIANOV