Salonta (Nagyszalonta), March 2 (MTI) – Hungarian President János Áder opened the memorial year marking the 200th birth anniversary of Hungarian poet and writer János Arany (1817-1882) in native town of Salonta (Nagyszalonta), today in western Romania, on Thursday.
He said the message hinted by Arany’s statue in front of the National Museum in Budapest is that “those can be part of a heroic fight” who serve “not by standing in the front line,” but by writing works that would last forever.
Arany lived in a turbulent period of Hungarian history when “courageous and dedicated patriots striving for reforms decided to take their fate into their own hands,” Áder said.
Although reserved as a character, Arany still “became part through his writings of the greatest undertaking of the 19th century: the re-establishment of the Hungarian nation,” the Hungarian president said at a commemoration in the local Town Hall.
Arany worked as teacher and newspaper editor in his native town, as well as in Debrecen, Budapest and Nagykőrös.
He was elected a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1858 and served later as its secretary-general. He also served as director of the Kisfaludy Society, the greatest literary association of Hungary.
Arany wrote over 40 ballads including his most famous Bards of Wales used as a metaphor to criticise the Habsburg rule over Hungary after its ill-fated 1848-49 revolution.
His epic poem, the Toldi trilogy, was inspired by nobleman Miklos Toldi, remembered as a legendary strong hero in Hungarian folklore. Toldi served in the army of Hungarian King Louis the Great in the 14th century.
He translated three Shakespeare dramas, namely A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet and King John, into Hungarian.
The bicentenary will be marked by several events during the memorial year.