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FERENCZ KOLCSEY (1740-1838)

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 888 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FERENCZ KOLCSEY (1740-1838), Hungarian poet, critic and orator, was born at Szodemeter, in Transylvania, on the 8th of August 1790. In his fifteenth year he made the acquaintance of Kazinczy and zealously adopted his linguistic reforms. In 1809 Kolcsey went to Pest and became a " notary to the royal board." Law proved distasteful, and at Cseke in Szatmar county he devoted his time to aesthetical study, poetry, criticism, and the defence of the theories of Kazinczy. Kolcsey's early metrical pieces contributed to the Transylvanian Museum did not attract much attention, whilst his severe criticisms of Csokonai, Kis, and especially Berzsenyi, published in 1817, rendered him very unpopular. From 1821 to 1826 he published many separate poems of great beauty in the Aurora, Hebe, Aspasia, and other magazines of polite literature. He joined Paul Szemere in a new periodical, styled Elet es literatura (" Life and Literature "), which appeared from 1826 to 1829, in 4 vols., and gained for Kolcsey the highest reputation as a critical writer. From 1832 to 1835 he sat in the Hungarian Diet, where his extreme liberal views and his singular eloquence soon rendered him famous as a parliamentary leader. Elected on the 17th of November 183o a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, he took part in its first grand meeting; in 1832, he delivered his famous oration on Kazinczy, and in 1836 that on his former opponent Daniel Berzsenyi. When in 1838 Baron Wesselenyi was unjustly thrown into prison upon a charge of treason, Kolcsey eloquently though unsuccessfully conducted his defence; and he died about a week afterwards (August 24) from internal inflammation. His collected works, in 6 vols., were published at Pest, 184o-1848, and his journal of the diet of 1832–1836 appeared in 1848. A monument erected to the memory of Kolcsey was unveiled at Szatmar-Nemeti on the 25th of September 1864. See G. Steinacker, Ungarische Lyriker (Leipzig, and Pest, 1874) ; F. Toldy, Magyar Koltek elete (2 vols., Pest, 1871) ; J. Ferenczy and J. Danielik, Magyar Ira (2 vols., Pest, 1856-1858). .
End of Article: FERENCZ KOLCSEY (1740-1838)
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