Béla Hamvas 2018-06-27T14:48:45+00:00

Béla Hamvas

Béla Hamvas (1897-1968) is considered as one of the greatest authors of the 20th century Hungarian literature and philosophy with a worldwide recognition. His œuvre connects the highest quality literature and philosophy in such ways that can only be seen in the works of the Spaniard Miguel de Unamuno and the French Albert Camus or Maurice Blanchot. His high literacy and humanism set him on a path opposite of every totalitarian dictatorship for what he was banned from publishing in 1948 after the Hungarian Communists came into power.

23 March 1897

Born in Eperjes (now Prešov, Slovak Republic) into the family of a Lutheran pastor. His father, József Hamvas, accepts a teaching position at the Lutheran Lycée of Pozsony (now Bratislava, Slovak Republic).

 

1898

The family moves to Pozsony.

 

1915

Upon graduation he volunteers for military service.

 

1916-1917

Twice wounded on the Ukrainian front. November, 1919 His father refuses to take the oath of allegiance to Czechoslovakia. The family is expelled from Pozsony and moves to Budapest.

 

1919-1923

Enrols in Péter Pázmány University to study Hungarian and German.

 

1923-1926

Journalist with Budapest News and Szózat.

 

1927-1948

Librarian in the Central Library of Budapest.

 

1936

Completes A magyar Hüperion (The Hungarian Hyperion), a collection of essays.

 

1937

Marries the writer Katalin Kemény.

 

1940-1944

Called up for military service three times. From April 1942 onwards, he is on the Russian front.

 

1943

Publishes a collection of essays, A láthatatlan történet  (The Invisible Story).

 

1944

Completes the first part of Scientia Sacra.

 

1945

His flat is struck by a bomb: his home, together with his library and manuscripts, are destroyed.

 

1945-1948

Edits the Booklets of the University Press.

 

1946

Anthologia humana – Ötezer év bölcsessége (The Wisdom of Five Thousand Years).

 

1948

Placed on the “B-list” (banned from publication) and forced into retirement.

 

1948-1951

Labourer in Szentendre. Completes three volumes of essays, Unicornis, Titkos jegyzőkönyv (Secret Minutes), and Silentium, and his novel Karnevál.

 

1951-1964

Storekeeper and unskilled worker at the Power Plant Investment Company, variously in Inota, Tiszapalkonya, and Bokod. Completes Az ősök nagy csarnoka. Fordítás és kommentárgyűjtemény (The Great Hall of the Ancestors. A collection of translations and commentaries), Az öt géniusz. Magyarország szellemi földrajza (The Five Geniuses. The Intellectual Geography of Hungary), Szarepta, and Patmosz I, II, III.

 

1964

Second retirement at the age of 67. Completes Szilveszter, Bizonyos tekintetben  (In Certain Respects), Ugyanis (That is to Say), and Öt meg nem tartott előadás a művészetről (Five Undelivered Lectures on Art).

 

7 November 1968

Dies of a brain haemorrhage. Laid to rest in Szentendre by his wife.