Restoration of the headquarters of the Imre Kertész Institute on Benczúr Street has been completed – report the MTI, highlighting the literary legacies the organisation manages.

The Imre Kertész Institute was created in 2017 following talks with the writer and an agreement signed with his widow. The organisation manages elements of the authors literary legacy not handled elsewhere, with the aim to better understand and publish his works, while nurturing cultural discourse about his heritage – Maria Schmidt, director of the Public Foundation for the Research of Central and Eastern European History, is quoted as saying on Tuesday by the MTI.

The Art Nouveau villa under 46 Benczúr Street was fully renovated and houses the Institute (Photo: Imre Kertész Institute/István Gyarmati)

Tamás Szabó, the programme director of the Institute added that the Art Nouveau villa under 46 Benczúr Street had been acquired by the the Institute for 762 million HUF from the Budapest City Council, and had been renovated for 2 billion HUF.

Mária Schmidt emphasised that the goal of the acquisition had been to save the building. Thus, the renovation maintained as much of the original villa constructed in 1910 as possible. However, where the original structure was missing modern solutions conforming to the spirit of the building were utilised.

A large storage room was created in the basement, while the attic was converted into a conference room able to seat 80–100 people. In addition, further rooms for smaller events, seminars and offices were built, aa were apartments for scholarship researchers.

Art Nouveau room (Photo: Imre Kertész Institute/István Gyarmati)

Zoltán Haffner, director of research, added: a large portion of Imre Kertész's life and oeuvre remains unexplored and unpublished. The Institute would like to involve other researchers, specialists and literary translators in this work, even through scholarships and research grants.

However, the Institute is tasked with not only preserving Kertész's literary legacy but collecting manuscripts in owned by individuals in Hungary and abroad, letters, other documents, publications in foreign languages and even secondary literature – stressed Mr Hafner.

Zoltán Hafner also highlighted that the Institute now also holds the rights to the Hungarian publication on the works of the Noble laureate. Plans are being laid out to publish notes Imre Kertész wrote in his Journal 1958–1962, and other entries connected to Sorstalanság (Fateless, trans Christopher C. Wilson & Katharina M. Wilson, 1992; Fatelessness, trans. Tim Wilkinson, 2004) under the title Lét és írás (Being and Writing).

Conservatory (Photo: Imre Kertész Institute/István Gyarmati)

The Institute also manages the legacies of four other writers and poets. Koestler, Petri, Pilinszky and Sziveri are connected by their opposition to the communist dictatorship.

Zoltán Hafner highlighted the work to be done in connection with widely unknown works of Sziveri, who dies at a young age thirty years ago. "Sziveri has a place next to Petri" – he is quoted as saying.

The Institute not only manages but aims to grow the Kertész legacy (Photo: Imre Kertész Institute/István Gyarmati)

The poet's works were scattered for 28 years before the Institute was tasked with managing them. Friends of the late poet are still sending in manuscripts and materials, added the research director, reminding guests of the recently published Szélherceg (Prince of winds) collection of poems.

Bust of Imre Kertész in the garden (Imre Kertész Institute/István Gyarmati)

Tamás Szabó also drew attention to the first public event to be held in the building. A reading of Sziveri's poetry will take place on the 8 October. The Institute will accept research requests from the end of October, he added.

Source: MTI

Cover photo: New headquarters of the Imre Kertész Institute completed (Photo: Imre Kertész Institute/István Gyarmati)