Author's page

Biography

1907 born in Szatmárnémeti (now Satu Mare, Romania)
1925 studies Law in Kolozsvár (now Cluj, Romania), without graduating
1927 technical editor, then (1930–43) editor of Pásztortűz (literary monthly)
1928–29 private tutor for a noble family
1929 member of the Zsigmond Kemény Society
1928–37 founding member of the periodical Erdélyi Fiatalok (Youth of Transylvania)
1931 member and secretary of the Transylvanian Catholic Academy
1933 chairman of the Hungarian branch of the Transylvanian PEN Club
1938 dies in Kolozsvár

Lurking Solitude
1928

Dsida is a poet of existential uncertainty. A disciple of the great stylist Dezső Kosztolányi in the bravura, buoyancy and flexibility of his verse, he considered poetry pure art. Even his earliest verse shows an astonishing mastery of technique and captures ethereal moments and moods in uniquely subtle and flexible language. For Dsida, the transcendental is a personal experience, but it does not mean relief. His constant anguish is expressed in the frequent use of fog as a metaphor. His first volume echoes with the unshackled rhythms of expressionism. His experimentation shows the influence of the late Trakl, and of Rilke and the Symbolists. The recurring images in his early work (the empty house, the cemetery, the forest in autumn) show his Weltschmerz: everything is transient, himself above all, an ailing man who pays a heavy price for fleeting moments of ecstasy

Maundy Thursday
1933

In his second volume Dsida builds a bucolic shelter for his contemplative musings. His poetry here approaches impressionism. Even death is perceived as a gentle sleep, a sort of peace. But in the later poems the more dissonant world of dreams proves such idylls to be illusory. The poet escapes to another world, to Messianism, often through paraphrasing a legend. He identifies with a risen Christ. Yet he cannot resolve the antinomy between his humanistic notion of the redemption of mankind and the feeling of inertia—there is a tragic doubt undermining his Messianism. At the same time his attitude towards society is humane, objective and responsible.

On the Zithers of Angels
1938

The posthumous volume includes more religious poems in which, surprisingly, Dsida moves towards realism and a Villonesque fraternisation with God and Death. Seeking joy in life belongs to his religious tasks: the poet is exhilarated and uplifted by city life and celebrates every living organism with exuberant joy. But his last poems are haunted by an awareness of impending death whose horrors are assuaged only by religious devotion. This, however, is not conceived of within the rigid framework of the Catholic Church; it is, rather, the humble devotion of the wretched. Aware of the limitations of his faith, Dsida’s fear of the unknown contains a certain element of mysticism.

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