Miklós Fogarassy

* 1939  †︎ 2013

  • "After I divorced my wife in 1968, Miklós Mészöly and his family gave me lodging. Their flat had a separate room at the back of the building, where I lived for years. Quite a few people lived with the Mészölys both before and after me. It was an ideal lodging: We didn’t impinge on each other’s privacy. However, when Miklós came home in the evening and spotted that my lamp was on, he came up to me and we had long conversations stretching into the small hours. Already back then at the end of 60s and beginning of 70s the Mészölys had an extended circle of the writer intelligentsia around them. I was also involved in the literary journal launching fervour of those days, which peaked at about ’68, if my memory serves me right, under the leadership of Béla Horgas and Júlia Levandel. It was entitled Eszmélet. I personally took an active part in an author/reader meeting in Leányfalu in 69, I guess, which took place at the camp site and the local library, as the members of the Eszmélet circle were so numerous that they couldn’t be squeezed into a single flat any more. It was a weekend event and that was where I met György Petri and Szabolcs Várady. There were a lot of us, György Konrad, Endre Bojtár, Zsolt Csalogh, István Eörsi. I don’t remember the details but I’m convinced that the Interior Ministry did make a report about it. It was during those years that I struck up a friendship with Jancsi Kenedi. Even if not on a daily basis, I rather frequently visited him in Villányi street. There, in his attic, Mihály Kornis and György Spiró held reading events. I found discussions with Kenedi as well as his radical and analytical thinking rather thrilling. One may wonder what character oppositional literature had. Broadly speaking, that was when the prenatal forms of today’s literature and literary journals emerged. In those days, we felt that this was the uncensored, modernist trend. Aesthetically speaking, it was rather versatile. My relationship to Filmkultúra was closely linked to it. In those days it was edited by Yvette Bíró in Népstadion Road. For some time I frequently contributed to this journal with reviews. It was the ideal place with the ideal editor. A very exciting outer circle of writers, critics, sociologists and psychologist, aestheticians such as Mészöly, György Csepeli, Ferenc Mérei, the most exquisite minds of the most diverse areas, was taking shape at that time. When at the turn of the 60s and 70s the political climate started becoming frostier, I took part in oppositional campaigns like collecting signatures. I signed some of the declarations such as the Charta and a couple others, as a supporter. I didn’t belong to the inner circle. I can think of much more active literary men, Csaba Könczöl among them, who took a much bigger share of oppositional campaigns, signature collecting as well as in the so called conspiracy. At the start I contributed to Napló once or twice. The Profil edited by Kenedi published my essay on Mészöly, which had been rejected by the rest of the press. I also translated some pieces for Kenedi’s MáshonnanBeszélő."

  • Full recordings
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    Budapest, Hungary, 05.04.2005

    duration: 02:59:30
    media recorded in project Oral History Archive - Budapest
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I loved the spirit underground

fogarassy.jpg (historic)
Miklós Fogarassy
photo: net

Miklós Fogarassy was born on 27 1939 in Budapest to bourgeois parents. His father, who was a staff officer, disappeared on the Don Front. The family was evicted in 1951. He completed his secondary school studies at the Gergely Czuczor Benedict Abbey in Győr. In 1956 he was elected to the board of Győr’s Youth Committee and he also contributed to organising the logistics of the rescue consignments to Budapest revolutionaries. He was rejected a university place several times due to the social status of his family. Between 1957 and 1962 he worked in the press National Széchényi Library (OSZK) Press Inventory. In 1959-63 he completed a Hungarian/Librarian evening course at the Arts Faculty of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. He published essays on literature and sociology as well as reviews from 1961 onwards. In 1962-68 he worked in the library of the Hungarian Association of Writers. From the middle of the 60s onwards, he was in touch with several members of the emerging democratic opposition. In 1974–76 he was the head of the municipal library in Esztergom. His writings had been published in a number of samizdats (Napló, Profil, Máshonnan Beszélő). From 1968 on, he worked for the Library Science and Methodology Centre of OSZK, an editor of the New Books Journal and an expert on children’s libraries and library IT development. In 1979, he signed the declaration of solidarity document of Charta 77. He published books on the oeuvres of Jan Vermeer, Miklós Mészöly, Dezső Tandori. He retired in 2002 and died on 14 August 2013.