Ernő Szép (1884-1953) started off as a popular poet and then became a fashionable playwright, while his novels were a literary sensation. Later, the literary public almost completely forgot about him, and now once again this Hungarian forerunner of modern absurdist literature is being discovered anew. After moving to Pest, Szép spent much of his life in publishing houses, cafes and literary circles. He lived a life as a young bohemian, taking several lovers, before settling down as a permanent bachelor. He was one of the best friends of Endre Ady, as well as a close acquaintance of Ferenc Molnár. Mihály Babits considered him a great poet from the outset, while Lajos Hatvany saw him as one of the central figures of Hungarian urban fiction. Those who knew him, loved him and held him in great esteem, though no one took him completely seriously. Neither did Szép himself, or the world for that matter. He never had a true enemy, and when he was the injured party he always strove to put himself in the shoes of his persecutors. At the end of the day, though, Szép belonged to no one, and is a lonely presence in Hungarian literature. He combined humour and lyricism, subtle perception and self-irony in often song-like verses, creating a rich world of emotion capoble of finding a new way to express the fundamental values of literature: love, understanding and forgiveness.
Though he worked in a range of different genres, Ernő Szép was a poet first and foremost: even when he wrote prose and stage plays. The evening's selection by László Darvasi, who began his writing career as a poet, will undoubtedly hint at and demonstrate this over the course of the event.
Cooperating partner for the performance: Örkény Theatre.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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