Die fackel [by] Zsigmond Móricz


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Die fackel [by] Zsigmond Móricz


  • Novel
  • Language: German
  • Release date: 1929
  • Publisher: Ernst Rowohlt, Berlin
  • Pages: 443

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Die fackel – Roman. [The Torch – Novel.] [by] Zsigmond Móricz
Autorisierte Übersetzung aus dem Ungarischen von Heinrich Horvát. [Authorized translation from the Hungarian by Heinrich Horvát.]
Berlin, 1929. Ernst Rowohlt. 443 p.
Publisher in illustrated canvas binding.  With the illustrated dust jacket. In good condition, minor fault. Inscribed by the Hungarian writer „Móricz” to „Gáspár Kata” translator. Kata Gáspár translator of Móricz Transylvania trilogy in German.

Zsigmond Móricz (1923) painted by József Rippl-Rónai

Zsigmond Móricz (1879–1942), one of Hungary’s foremost novelists, whose literary career extended from the turn of the twentieth century to the Second World War. Móricz was the first Hungarian author of note to have been born and raised among the peasantry. His father, Bálint Móricz, was descended from impoverished peasants and farmed a small parcel of land in eastern Hungary, in the village of Tiszacsécse, then numbering all of 300 souls. One can still visit the house he built for his family there when Zsigmond was a youth, the “Móricz Zsigmond Emlékház.”

Zsigmond was the first of nine children, eight boys and one girl, two of whom died in infancy. His family was well acquainted with the poverty he often depicted in his narratives. But this did not prevent his parents from nurturing cultural ambitions in young Zsigmond, whose mother, Erzsébet Pallagi, was a Reformed pastor’s daughter and presumably descended from ancient Hungarian nobility, a claim that son Miklós Móricz, also a writer, later proved false. The author’s father went to great lengths to secure an education for his first-born son, and Zsigmond began his studies at the Debreceni Református Kollégium in 1890. After trying a variety of career directions including law and theology, Móricz eventually took up journalism, moving to Budapest in 1900. He devoted energy to the study of Hungarian folk culture, which he prized, while at the same time entering the urbane cultural world of Hungary’s capital and acquainting himself with important authors of the time, including several who have gone down in the annals of Hungarian literary history: Dezső Kosztolányi, Mihály Babits, Kálmán Mikszáth, and the revolutionary poet Endre Ady, with whom Móricz forged an influential friendship in 1909.

Naturalism and Realism, literary trends that were already fading in western Europe, gained in importance in countries such as Hungary, Romania, and Poland during the era dominated by the experience of the First World War and the halting rise of capitalism in these traditionally agrarian societies. Móricz’s experiences as a reporter at the front during the Great War, and as a witness to the sometimes promising, but more often disappointing political upheavals that took place in the wake of the conflict, strengthened his commitment to recording the plight of his nation’s poorest classes in his writings. His early fame was founded on the novella “Seven Pennies” (“Hét krajcár”) published in 1908 in Nyugat (“West”), a journal of such significance for Hungarian literature that an entire era is named for it, extending from 1908 when the first issues appeared, and lasting until the time of Móricz’s death in 1942. The poignant portrayal of the value a mere seven pennies can have for an impoverished family sealed Móricz’s reputation as an author with an unprecedented ability to lay bare the suffering of society’s most neglected members.

Móricz’s career as an author, grounded in ten years’ work as a journalist, had begun. Tragically, only a fraction of his novels have been translated into English: The Torch (A fáklya, 1917), Be Faithful unto Death (Légy jó mindhalálig, 1920), Very Merry (Úri muri, 1928), and Relations (Rokonok, 1932), along with the story collection Seven Pennies (Hét krajcár, 1909). His works have fared better in other languages, especially French and German, but nonetheless the lack of availability of his novels in English translation has caused prominent historians of Hungary to lament the loss to English-speaking readers.

Additional information

Weight 850 g
Dimensions 13.5 × 19.2 cm


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