Gyulya Baghy


Gyulya Baghy (1891 - 1967) was a writer and an actor. Born in Hungary, he learned Esperanto in 1911 and began his tireless work for the movement during his six year military captivity in Siberia. Baghy was an emotionally lyrical interpreter of that fundamental humanity which lies at the heart of the international language collective. For this reason he is one of the most "Esperantist" poets, someone who can only be understood with great difficulty by outsiders. His poems are melodic, have an air of spontaneity and abound in a rich variety of word forms peculiar to Esperanto. Their rhythm depends on the inspiration of the moment. His first collection of poems appeared in 1922: Preter la Vivo (Beyond Life), which is probably also his chef d'oeuvre. Pilgrimo (Pilgrim) followed in 1926, and La Vagabondo Kantas (The Vagabond Sings), in 1933. The most lyrical is the former. In the latter, an abundance of rhythm and rhyme covers gaps in inspiration and in analysis of the theme.

In 1966 Baghy refashioned folk tales from 12 nationalities in a volume of verse entitled Chielarko (Rainbow). His last collection of poems, Autunaj folioj (Autumn Leaves), was published posthumously in 1970. The material for much of his early poetry comes from his experiences as a prisoner of war in Siberia following the 1st World War. Baghy published his short stories in Dancu Marionetoj! (Dance Puppets!), 1927; Migranta Plumo (Wandering Pen), 1929; Verdaj Donkihhotoj (Green Don Quijotes), 1933, containing one novella; La Teatra Korbo (The Costume Hamper), 1934; and in Koloroj (Colours), 1960, which consisted of pieces previously published. Baghy's stories never have a very complex framework, and often seem more like sketches. The tone can run the gamut from gentle and tranquil, underscoring his compassion for human frailties, to bitingly critical, where the author presents injustice and hypocrisy with a sneer.

There are explosive moments of rage in the novels Viktimoj (Victims), 1925 and Sur Sanga Tero (On Bloody Soil), 1933, both dealing with his Siberian sojourn as a prisoner of war. Less successful is the satirical novel Hura! (Hooray!), 1930, in which he flays the morality of contemporary European society. Baghy wrote a sequel to that novel, Insulo de Espero (Island of Hope), which disappeared during the 2nd World War. The novel Printempo en la Autuno (Spring in the Autumn), 1931, is possibly a little too sentimental. Nevertheless, it reveals the hand of the craftsman, who competently hones the psychological makeup of the protagonists.

Baghy also played a prominent role in fostering new talent. His role in the emergence of Eli Urbanova for example, in the mid-fifties, is related in fascinating detail in that poet's recently released autobiography: Hetajro Dancas (A Courtesan Dances).

William Auld
Gyulya Baghy
Marjorie Boulton
Kalman Kalocsay
Yevgheny Mikhalsky
Sandor Szathmari
versio en Esperanto
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