Author's page

Biography

1931 (16th June) born in Budapest
1949-1953 graduates in Hungarian from Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest; contributes to Szabad Ifjúság
1956 takes part in the Revolution as a journalist; arrested (Dec.) and sentenced for 8 years
1960 released with amnesty
1960-1967 various literary jobs, translations
1967 contributes to Élet és Irodalom
1977-1982 and from 1989, script editor for the prestigious Gergely Csiky Theatre, Kaposvár
1982- freelance writer;
on the editorial board of Magyar Narancs
1983-1986 lives in West Berlin
1973-1989 works for the Democratic Opposition, belongs to the inner circle of Beszélő
1989-2004 member of the Nation-wide Council of the Free Democrats' Party
13. Oct. 2005 he dies

His prizes include:
1952 Attila József Prize, 1983 The Frankfurter Autorenstiftung's Prize, 1988 Austrian Literary Translators' Prize, 1989 Tibor Déry Award, 1989, 1990 Theatre Critics' Prize, 1991 1956 Commemorative Medal; Order of the Star of the Hungarian Republic with Laurel Wreath, 1993 IBBY Special Prize; Special Prize of the Parnasszus, 1996 The Soros Foundation's Oeuvre Prize, 2005 Kossuth-Prize

Remembering the Good old Times. A Memoir of 1956
1956

In the years before the change of the regime, Eörsi completed a task he had had in mind. Relying on his old poems and the documentaries he came upon or sought out, he wrote the story of his prison years following the Revolution, the time between 9th Dec. 1956 and 20th Aug. 1960, "so as to be able to think clearly about this period of my life". Facing his own life as well as that of others mercilessly or at times with a milder self-irony, he recalls the proceedings of the interrogations and the trials, the events of the revolution and all the prisons he spent time in (Fő Street, Markó Street, Vác, Márianosztra, the 'Transit' in Kozma Street, all resonant names for Hungarian readers). But the sense of the absurd, familiar from his plays and poems, does not leave him as he interpolates chronology with shrewd remarks on power, on servile attitudes or on self-justification, or when he describes his cells and the bedbugs, draws the portray of a fellow-prisoner or underlines a psychological detail. Ultimately he swears to be loyal to his dead friends.

My Time With Gombrovich
1994

Reading Gombrovich's diary, while under the impact of the Polish author's text and following the chain of his life, Eörsi wishes to find his mature self and to face the past, his world view, his faith and his friends with a stricter intention than ever. To his own astonishment he finds that the believer's approach who has a reflexive attitude to his own faith is much closer to the way he himself interprets the world than are the people sharing his ideals in theory but living under illusions (as for instance Eörsi's mentor, George Lukács did), or unable to keep that reflexive stance towards their ideas. "That is how the book is full of the most personal confessions - writes Júlia Szalai -, of the nature of admiration, of irony, of being Hungarian or Polish, of sexuality and eroticism, of a writer's ambitions, of failure, of the once intimate but by now indefensible 'life in opposition', of the relativity of vice and virtue, of aesthetic experiences that have a life-long influence, of nightmares, of frightening revolutions, of the pettiness of large-scale administration of justice, of growing old, of odd pieces of news, of love, of homosexuality, of women and men." The dual diary governed by loose associations mixes the genres of journalism, short story, poem, essay and criticism.

Questions, For Friends
2004

On the cover of his new book of poems written after the collected Nails, a volume covering almost five decades, Eörsi writes, "... it has struck me how the topic of death is spreading on the pages of this book like black ink on blotting paper. The old themes, for instance politics or love, are there, but they are flown round by this blackness. ... In this book, even when I write about the death of others, the unselfish sadness seeps through by a notion that it is partly about myself. ... I seem to have changed, but hopefully not that much as to prevent my friends and enemies from recognising me." The outstanding parts of the book are perhaps the two poems written on the death of György Petri.

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