The poet Ágnes Nemes Nagy was born in Budapest 100 years ago

Hungarian version of the article: Budapesten született 100 évvel ezelőtt Nemes Nagy Ágnes költő

Written by: Pestbuda.hu

January 3, 2022 at 7:30 PM

Ágnes Nemes Nagy, a poet, translator and essayist who was born a hundred years ago, writes masterpieces such as the poems of the book Wandering Years or the Solstice, or All Children's Poems. The poet was born in Budapest and died here in the 12th district 5/b Királyhágó street - where she lived for about thirty-three years.

A sign on the house indicates the memory of Ágnes Nemes Nagy, who lived here in a third floor apartment from 1958 until her death in 1991. Her home was at once a venue for workshops,  groups of friends, literary gatherings, and editorial meetings.

The poet, writer, translator and essayist Nemes Nagy was born in Budapest in 1922 in an intellectual family: she studied grammar school at the Bar-Madas Reformed Girls' High School, then graduated from the Pázmány Péter University in 1944 with a degree in Hungarian-Latin art history. During this period she became acquainted with Antal Szerb and Gábor Halász.

Ágnes Nemes Nagy lived in this house. The home was also the scene of literary gatherings (Photo: googlemaps.com)

She published her poems from 1945, and her first volume, Dual World , was published in 1946. That year, with her husband, Balázs Lengyel, she founded the literary magazine Újhold , which was banned in the fall of 1948.

She could only publish as a translator and cultivator of children’s literature during the years of the hard dictatorship, translating primarily from French and German. She was an employee of the pedagogical journal Köznevelés , and from 1954 she taught at the Sándor Petőfi High School in Budapest for four years. She has been listed as a freelance writer since 1958.

Ágnes Nemes Nagy and Balázs Lengyel in their home on Királyhágó Street (Photo: Petőfi Literary Museum)

Her second volume, Szárazvillám , was continuously present in the literary public. In 1969 she received the Attila József Prize for his collection book Lovak és Angyalok. Outstanding among her essays is the Látkép gesztenyefával, but her tales for children are also very important, such as Aunt Bors' book, from which a theatrical performance starring Margit Dajka was born.

Újhold (New Moon Yearbook, twice a year 1986–1991) was relaunched with Balázs Lengyel in 1986. It was an extremely important series for the educated in the years before the change of regime. Újhold ceased to exist with the death of Ágnes Nagy. According to the memory of the Petőfi Literary Museum, her oeuvre, although relatively small, became the defining and generational creator of the era due to its originality and poetic power.

The plaque to the artist, who died in 1991, was erected in 2001 by the Local council of Hegyvidék, the Hungarian Writers' Association and the Széchenyi Academy of Arts. One of the most beautiful four rows was engraved on the board:

Lazarus

“As soon as he got up slowly,

a whole life's every muscle hurt.

His death is torn off like gauze.

Because it is just as difficult to be reborn. ”

 

Cover photo: Ágnes Nemes Nagy, poet, essayist, translator born a hundred years ago (Photo: Petőfi Literary Museum)


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