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FERENCZ KAZINCZY (1759-1831)

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 705 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FERENCZ KAZINCZY (1759-1831), Hungarian author, the most indefatigable agent in the regeneration of the Magyar language and literature at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, was born on the 27th of October 1759, at Er-Semlyen, in the county of Bihar, Hungary. He studied law at Kassa and Eperies, and in Pest, where he also obtained a thorough knowledge of French and German literature, and made the acquaintance of Gideon Raday, who allowed him the use of his library. In 1784 Kazinczy became subnotary for the county of Abaf1j; and in 1786 he was nominated inspector of schools at Kassa. There he began to devote himself to the restoration of the Magyar language and literature by translations from classical foreign works, and by the augmentation of the native vocabulary from ancient Magyar sources. In 1788, with the assistance of Bar6ti Szabo and John Bacsanyi, he started at Kassa the first Magyar literary magazine, Magyar Muzeum; the Orpheus, which succeeded it in 1790, was his own creation. Although, upon the accession of Leopold II., Kazinczy, as a non-Catholic, was obliged to resign his post at Kassa, his literary activity in no way decreased. He not only assisted Gideon Raday in the establishment and direction of the first Magyar dramatic society, but enriched the repertoire with several translations from foreign authors. His Hamlet, which first appeared at Kassa in 1790, is a rendering from the German version of Schroder. Implicated in the democratic conspiracy of the abbot Martinovics, Kazinczy was arrested on the 14th of December 1794, and condemned to death; but the sentence was commuted to imprisonment. He was released in 1801, and shortly afterwards married Sophia Torok, daughter of his former patron, and retired to his small estate at Szephalom or " Fairhill," near Sctor-Ujhely, in the county of Zemplen. In 1828 he took an active part in the conferences held for the establishment of the Hungarian academy in the historical section of which he became the first corresponding member. He died of Asiatic cholera, at Szephalom, on the 22nd of August 1831. Kazinczy, although possessing great beauty of style, cannot be regarded as a powerful and original thinker; his fame is chiefly due to the felicity of his translations from the masterpieces of Lessing, Goethe, Wieland, Klopstock, Ossian, La Rochefoucauld, Marmontel, Moliere, Metastasio, Shakespeare, Sterne, Cicero, Sallust, Anacreon, and many others. He also edited the works of Baroczy (Pest, 1812, 8 vols.) and of the poet Zrinyi (1817, 2 vols.), and the poems of Dayka (1813, 3 vols.) and of John Kis, (1815, 3 vols.). A collective edition of his works (Szep Literatura), consisting for the most part of translations, was published at Pest, 1814-1816, in 9 vols. His original productions (Eredeti Mukdi), largely made up of letters, were edited by Joseph Bajza and Francis Toldy at Pest, 1836-1845, in 5 vols. Editions of his poems appeared in 1858 and in 1863.
End of Article: FERENCZ KAZINCZY (1759-1831)
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