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Vörösmarty: Csongor and Tünde

Maria Bozoky

Vörösmarty: Csongor and Tünde

Maria Bozoky
  • Original Title: Vörösmarty: Csongor and Tünde "Egy leégett ház tövénél Isznak, esznek, alkudoznak s bömböl a bölömbika" (I. felv.)
  • Date: 1995; Budapest, Hungary  
  • Style: Expressionism
  • Genre: illustration
  • Media: watercolor
  • Dimensions: 35 x 25.5 cm

Mihály Vörösmarty, (1800-1855), poet and dramatist who helped make the literature of Hungary truly Hungarian during the era (1825–49) of social reforms. By ridding Hungarian literature of overwhelming classical and German influence, he made it national not only in language but in spirit.

Csongor and Tünde is regarded by many of Vörösmarty's critics as the climax of his poetic achievement” (Oxfordshire: Clarendon Press,1984, 130).

Csongor és Tünde is a play that calls for free choice in both the personal and social or
national spheres. In the opening lines Csongor, the main protagonist, declares that he is looking
for “the lady of his dreams,” but in his quest for his Love he necessarily also has to face social
and political challenges, as in the poetic-dramatic tradition and political reality of the
playwright's time these two missions were seen as intertwined and mutually mirrored or symbolized.

The plot is anchored in the sixteenth-century Hungarian Árgirius romance.

Csongor soon realizes that the paths of the three travelers (Csongor, Ilma and Balga) he has described in the lines just quoted are futile, but it is Balga, Csongor's realistic companion, who offers earth-based alternatives to Csongor’s lofty ideals.

While on his quest, Csongor has to face the scheming of ill-meaning Suckbane [Hung.
Mirigy], who plots against him, while Csongor receives only little help from others, except for
Balga, who keeps grounding him in reality. As expected, in the play's finale all of its earth-bound
as well as ethereal entanglements are resolved. The three travelers break apart, the lovers are
united and Tünde calls upon her Love.

Vörösmarty’s questions are substantially much more existential than poetic: “Are human beings capable of achieving happiness? Is there a kind of happiness that completely satisfies man?” (ahea.pitt.edu)

Leó Weiner (1885-1960) composer, published about 30 works, the best known of which is his witty incidental music for Mihály Vörösmarty's fairy play Csongor és Tünde (1903). (britannica.com)

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