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Hungarian poetry is poetry written in the Hungarian language.

Old HungarianEdit

During the Middle Ages and well into the Renaissace, the written language in Hungary was mostly Latin.

The oldest poem is the Old Hungarian Laments of Mary (Ómagyar Mária-siralom), a (not very strict) translation from Latin, dating from the 13th century. It is also the oldest surviving Uralic poem.

The Lamentations are hard to read and not quite comprehensible for modern-day Hungarians, mostly because the 26-letter Latin alphabet was not fit to represent all the sounds in Hungarian language, as diacritic marks and double letters had not been developed yet.

Middle HungarianEdit

Renaissance literature flourished under the reign of King Matthias (1458–1490). Janus Pannonius, although he wrote in Latin, counts as one of the most important persons in Hungarian literature, being the only significant Hungarian Humanist poet of the period. The first printing house was also founded during Matthias' reign, by András Hess, in Buda. The first book printed in Hungary was the Chronica Hungarorum.

The most important poets of the period were Bálint Balassi (1554–1594), Tinódi Sebestyén and Miklós Zrínyi (1620–1664). Balassi's poetry shows Medieval influences, his poems can be divided into three sections: love poems, war poems and religious poems. Zrínyi's most significant work, the epic Szigeti veszedelem ("Peril of Sziget", written in 1648/49) is written in a fashion similar to The Iliad, and recounts the heroic Battle of Szigetvár, where his great-grandfather died while defending the castle of Szigetvár.

Another category is historical verse in Hungarian, like that of Tinody Sebestyen from the 16th century, Ilosvay Selymes Peter, Szabatkai Mihaly and Gergely deak.

Modern HungarianEdit

Enlightenment and the language reformEdit

The Hungarian enlightenment delayed about fifty years compared to the Western European enlightenment. The new thoughts arrived to Hungary across Vienna. The greatest poets of the time were Mihály Csokonai Vitéz and Dániel Berzsenyi.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


summarized at the administrative website of Hungary

Specific sourcesEdit

Literary chapters from the Encyclopaedia Humana Hungarica (1–5)Edit

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