On 8 February 2014, Szilárd Borbély, one of Hungary's finest writers, passed away in tragic circumstances. Despite its forced brevity, the life's work of Borbély, who died at the age of 50, was expansive and extraordinarily varied both linguistically and in terms of genre.
Irrespective of the defining styles and formative events of the era, Borbély was able to create his own lyrical language, though he would be careful never to let that language grow stale. Time and again he ventured down untrodden paths - almost every volume published in his poetry career could be seen as a genuine turning point. His knowledge and know-how of philology, philosophy and the history of literature meant he was able to lend personal depth to ancient mythology and late-Christianity, Baroque and Hassidic traditions. In fact, his texts both encompassed the history of European culture and constantly questioned it. At the same time, Borbély was far from a dry philosopher: he was always and in everything a poet. In classic verse form, he raised questions about faith and religion, passion and compassion, sin and redemption, about the body and its strikingly universal taboos, while also achieving the weightiest of poetical feats: managing to clearly express our ideas. It is only possible to understand the dense connections of Borbély's oeuvre and their relationship with his predecessors in Hungarian and world literature - Imre Kertész, János Pilinszky or even Kafka - through his prose work, such as Nincsteleneknek (To The Dispossessed), or by recalling the 'circular writings' of his Árnyképrajzoló (Shadow Drawing), which was closely linked to his poetry cycle Halotti Pompa (Deathly Pomp). Throughout the course of this evening, which will also feature his essays, play excerpts and texts written by him or about him, we will attempt to uncover the extraordinary depth of Szilárd Borbély's work.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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