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Biography

1877 born in Érdmindszent (today Adyfalva, Romania)
1896 obtains General Certificate of Education in Zilah (today Zalu, Romania)
1897 attends law school in Debrecen
1898-99 journalist in Debrecen; publishes first volume of poetry
1900-03 journalist in Nagyvárad
1903 meets Adél Brüll (Léda)
1904-05 first of several stays in Paris
1906-07 quick rise to prominence due to his controversial poetry
1907-08 writer for the newspaper Budapesti Napló
1911 visits Florence and Rome
1910 writes for the newspaper Világ
1912 editor of the literary magazine Nyugat
1912 breaks with Adél Brüll
1915 marries Berta Boncza
1919 succumbs to syphilis in Budapest

Poems
1899

Ady s first volume appeared in Debrecen and was dedicated to his beloved mother. These poems were considered by both authors and the critics as far inferior to his later output, and are too sentimental and smoothly musical to rank with the great poems of his oeuvre. Wish and desire are key concepts; the poems found here show a young man of considerable talent and even more ambition who has not yet found his own voice and themes, his central topic being romantic love and nothing else.

Once Again
1903

His second volume of poetry, published during his journalist years in Nagyvárad, shows the poet once again pursuing his dreams and desires. The tone of the volume is darker, the voice harsher and symbolist images stronger, as cold and darkness mark an atmosphere full of death, doubt and struggle—a real poet is in the making. Some of these poems appeared in his following volume as well.

New Poems
1906

The influence of Charles Baudelaire and the Symbolists, of Paris, and of the liberating force of his passionate love affair with Adél Brüll (“Léda”, an older, married woman who he followed to Paris and who became his muse) resulted in a volume that proved revolutionary. “Ady has begun his Herculean struggle,” said one of his critics, and he was right; while progressive readers and thinkers welcomed him unequivocally, conservatives began their loud protest against what they saw to be perverse and unintelligible verses. The expressive strength of his rhythm and images, combined with a self-critical patriotism, results in a depiction of Hungary as a backward country, mired in the past. The unprecedented tension of his visionary poems opened a road which hundreds of imitators were ready to tread. His love poetry also showed new ways of expression, a lack of self-forgiveness during a time of hypocrisy.

Blood and Gold
1907

This volume shows the influence of his second stay in Paris. The first cycle is organised around two topics: God and Death. Wavering between doubt and naïve faith, his poems reflect his struggle with God, and his homeland and nation. The second cycle of the volume is dedicated to Money, to the “Blood and Gold” that keeps history in motion, as well as to Léda, his love, who is now depicted in much darker and stranger colours. Ady’s famous symbols, the Black Piano, the Red Boats, Csönd-herceg (Prince Silence) and Ős Kaján (The Old Malign) emerge in this volume.

On Elijah's Chariot
1908

The volume starts with epic poems written in the tones of the Prophets; within them is found Ady’s ultimately futile wish to come to terms with God and find peace. Spiritual poems written in despair and anticipation of death are followed by poems about being Hungarian; for Ady, patriotism is “black and bloody and sad”, and Hungary must constantly be punished by the Lord. The poems written about Léda, his muse, are wild, despairing and passionate, while the poems written to his country speak in the voice of the passionate hero-critic. He defines his own struggle as opposition, as resistance against his foes.

I Want to be Loved
1909

Although a poet of the metropolis, Ady returned repeatedly to his Transylvanian homeland, seeking reconciliation for his tormented soul and foreign (read: urban and cosmopolitan) way of life. In this volume he writes about his village, including ballad-like poems about peasants, and about city life and death. The suggestive effect is the most important characteristic of Endre Ady’s poetry. “His egotism, his intoxicated Zarathustra-like ecstasy that radiate from his exotic figure has put a spell on us, people in doubt and despair.” -Frigyes Karinthy

It might as well Happen this Way
1910

A collection of short stories. Although he was a prolific journalist, Ady did not think of himself as a prose writer. Nevertheless, his short stories are of high value. Many of them are feuilletons and satires, and the best show the influence of psychological realism. Ady wrote 340 short stories, but the collection (except four) only appeared in its entirety in 1961.

The Poems of All- Secrets
1911

The cycles of this volume deal with the “Secrets of God”, “Secrets of Love”, “Secrets of Sadness”, “Secrets of the Magyars”, “Secrets of Victory” and “Secrets of Life and Death”. “Romantic predestination provides one of the tones to Ady’s poetry. (Ady was of Calvinist background.) His sense of predestination led to his romantic morals.” -Dezső Szabó

Fugitive life
1912

These poems reflect Ady’s state of mind resulting from a sickness that was eventually to kill him.

Margita wishes to Live
1912

A lyric novel in verse modelled on Byron’s Don Juan; it is intended to encourage the hoped-for, harmonious collaboration of modern urban Jews and Hungarians.

In Front of Good Prince Silence
1918

Poems of the First World War, apocalyptic images reflecting Ady’s sense of horror and doom.

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