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The page of Juhász Gyula, English biography

Image of Juhász Gyula
Juhász Gyula

Biography


Born April 4, 1883 in Szeged; died April 6, 1937 in Szeged. Poet, journalist, teacher. Father an official in telegraph office. Spent most of life in Szeged. Completed studies at Piarist gymnasium in Szeged and in 1899 entered Piarist novitiate in Vác. First poems already appearing in Szegedi Napló. Left novitiate after six months because of interest in poetry and unhappy experiences as novice. After year's lapse resumed schooling. Father's death strongly affected him, and he again considered becoming priest. With financial help of relatives studied Hungarian and Latin at University of Budapest 1902-1906. Became friend of Mihály Babits, Dezső Kosztolányi (qq.v.), and Gábor Oláh at university and prepared for career as poet. Met Endre Ady (q.v.) in 1905. Obtained teaching position at Piarist gymnasium in Máramarossziget in fall 1906. Disappeared from city in February 1907 with apparent intention, unfulfilled, to commit suicide. Nervous condition, which first appeared in summer 1903, kept recurring throughout life. On obtaining teaching certificate he took position with Piarist gymnasium in Léva in fall of 1907 but after four months left for Budapest without notice. Returned to Szeged, lost teaching position, and again considered becoming a priest. Obtained temporary position with Premonstratensian gymnasium in Nagyvárad, where he became co-founder of A Holnap anthology and met Anna Sárvári, an actress, who inspired much of his love poetry. Lost position in 1911 and obtained position with high school in Szakolca. Isolation damaged health; he was greatly depressed at time of transfer to high school in Makó in fall 1913. Shot himself in chest in hotel in Pest on March 6, 1914, but recovered in Rókus Hospital, where he was visited by Júlia Eőrsi, a writer, who inspired his poems for several years. Became melancholy again at end of 1916, and in 1917 spent nine months in Moravcsik Clinic in Budapest. Recovered slowly at home in Szeged and resumed writing at end of February 1918. Participated actively in support of October Revolution in 1918. After failure of Revolutionary Government he was forced to earn living entirely from writings and newspaper work. Became member of Social Democratic party. Articles and poems appeared in Munka. Became president of Munkásdalkör in Szeged and lecturer for workers' seminars. Member of Petőfi-Társaság in 1920. Brought to court in 1925 because of newspaper article he wrote, but charge was dismissed. Visited Vienna in 1926. At end of 1928, he received pension with help of friends; awarded Baumgarten Prize in January 1929. Melancholia intensified, and he spent most of 1929 in Schwartzer Sanitorium and then in psychiatric clinic in Szeged. Awarded Baumgarten Prize again in 1930 and 1931 but withdrew increasingly into himself. Spent last years between home and psychiatric clinic in Szeged. Thoughts turned increasingly to suicide and he ended life by taking veronal.
One of the most important lyric poets in 20th-century Hungarian literature. Poems characterized by conflict between Christian consciousness of guilt and pagan longing for life. Early world outlook influenced by Nietzsche, Ibsen, and Tolstoy. Saw sorrow in his human condition and that of man. Poems also contained wonder at and longing for life and love for man which sometimes counteracted his pessimism. Used wide variety of verse forms and made ballad form of Villon native in Hungarian poetry. Most important poet of workers' life before Attila József (q.v.).
An edition of his poems is available in Russian, and some of his poems have been translated into Bulgarian, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Rumanian, Serbian, and Slovakian.

Hungarian Authors. A Bibliographical Handbook by Albert Tezla
Anthology ::
Literature ::
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