Madách, Imré(ĭm`rĕ mŏ`däch), 1823–64, Hungarian poet and dramatist. Madách is best known for his dramatic epic, The Tragedy of Man (1861, tr. 1908), which relates the history of mankind in somber, philosophical terms. Influenced by Goethe's Faust, it reveals Madách's profound pessimism. An adapted version is frequently performed in Hungarian theaters.
Born Jan. 21, 1823, in Alsosztregova; died there Oct. 4, 1864. Hungarian poet and playwright.
The son of a noble, Madách studied philosophy and law at the University of Pest; he was a lawyer and later became a judge. His first anthology of verse was Flowers of the Lyre (1840). He was sympathetic to the Revolution of 1848-49 and wrote about it in his cycle of poems Camp Scenes. After the revolution was crushed, Madách hid L. Kossuth’s personal secretary in his home, for which he was sentenced to a year in prison. In the satirical drama The Civilizer (1860), Madách ridiculed the Austrian oppressors.
In 1859-60, Madách wrote a philosophical drama in verse, The Tragedy of Man (published 1861; Russian translation, 1904), whose protagonists, Adam and Eve, appear in various historical manifestations and personify the tragic hopelessness of mankind’s fate; however, the drama’s final conclusion is that struggle is the true goal of life. In his drama Moses (1861), Madách exhorted the Hungarian people to fight for national freedom.
WORKSOsszes muvei, vols. 1-2. Budapest, 1942.
Válogatott muvei. Budapest, 1958.
REFERENCESWaldapfel, J. Gorkij és Madách. Budapest, 1958.
Sotér, I. Áom a tortenelemrol: Az Madách Imre és az ember tragédiája. Budapest, 1969.
E. I. MALYKHINA