Fazekas Mihály azon – meglehetősen kisszámú – klasszikus szerzőnk közé tartozik, aki körül látszólag minden rendben van. Létezik műveinek kritikai kiadása (meglehetősen régről, 1955-ből) van róla nagymonográa is, Julow Viktor tollából. Julow a könyvét hosszas kutatások után, évtizedekkel a részben tőle is gondozott kritikai kiadás megjelenése után adta ki: ez a könyv azóta is jelentős teljesítménynek számít. Ezek alapján azt is mondhatnók, nem csoda, hogy az utóbbi időben csönd övezi az író alakját, hiszen minden tisztázva van körülötte. Pedig korántsem. Érdemes közelebb lépnünk Fazekas alakjához és teljesítményéhez, mert akkor jobban látszanak a hiányok és a repedések azon a szakirodalmi hagyományon, amely vele foglalkozott.
The first part of the study gives a summary of the textological approach to the oeuvre of Mihály Fazekas, detailed elsewhere. Kis is followed by the highlighting of four contexts grouped around the concepts of Poetry, Morals, Sciences and Interpretation of self, all of which focus on a text source or group of text sources. The connection between the chapters is built retroactively, later chapters and the points discussed therein refer back to relevant concepts in previous ones. After the description of the possible contexts, the last chapter discusses the different aspects for the evaluation of the whole oeuvre, and gives a number of hypotheses, hoping to inspire further research.
Mihály Fazekas’s epic poem was first published in 1815 without indicating the author; the author then intended to replace this “piratical edition”, published without his knowledge, with an authorised, revised edition, but still anonymously (1817). The article first discusses the philological questions of this publishing history with attention to the importance of textual modifications by the author. The study takes into consideration the questions surrounding the presumed source material’s origins known in international folklore, critically reviewing the standpoint of folkloristics and literary history so far. Then it concludes that it is not the title character of Lúdas Matyi who is the central figure, but the other important character, Döbrögi, because this latter one is capable of demonstrating the state of purity achieved through suffering, and Lúdas Matyi, who takes his revenge on him three times by beating him up, is only depicted as a means to that end. The article identifies the fundamental structural schemes of crime stories (Kriminalgeschichte) in the poetic solutions of the work, which genre became popular at the end of the 18th century-beginning of the 19th century, reaching Hungary via German intermediation in the 1810s.
Mihály Fazekas’s poetry is often associated with the discourses of popular culture. His descriptive poems on nature, his songs and elegies describing the everyday life of the military, and his narrative poem, Lúdas Matyi, which is considered to be a classic in Hungarian literature, have all been interpreted as reaching back to the original culture of the Hungarian nation. This description was mainly based on Herder’s concept of nation and history. However, Fazekas was not interested at all in the problem of recovering a pure Volksgeist from folk culture. This essay argues that the fundamental aesthetic problem of his poetry is creating poetry of social life. For Fazekas, folk culture is not a cultural entity to be uplifted or an entity to be adapted, but an important register of cultural diversity. Poetry is nothing more than a means of making culture social. thus, poetry achieves its goal if the different poetical registers reach different social classes.
In the article I demonstrate the connection between Fazekas and Csokonai through two poems. Fazekas’s Az érzékenységek énekben (The Senses in Song) was written in imitation of Csokonai’s A’ Reményhez, and A serdűlő bajuszhoz (To the Pubescent Moustache) was written similarly after Csokonai’s A’ Pillangóhoz, in these two poems by Fazekas Csokonai’s influence can be observed from formal characteristics through themes to intertextuality. However, this influence is not merely a copy of form, but it is an expression of Fazekas’s poetic irony and his polemic mentality with Csokonai. Both poems target the Lilla-affection and the love cult of sensitive poetry, as opposed to which, as poetic banter, Fazekas depicts on the one hand, an ordinary woman character who requites love, and on the other hand, a woman of easy virtue. The subtle irony is present on multiple levels in both poems due to the verbunkos (a Hungarian dance originated in military recruiting) and sensibility-classical melody.
Mihály Fazekas had the chance to get to know several layers of Hungarian popular poetry in the Reformed College in Debrecen, as well as during his soldier years and in the end after he returned to his homeland. Although his popular poems are not as complex as the songs of the contemporary poets, Ádám Pálóczi Horváth and Mihály Csokonai Vitéz, in a few cases it is clear that he was inspired by one or more popular songs, and he wrote his poems following these models or launching a dialogue with them. The study tries to explore the background of the most famous two poems of Fazekas. The source and prefiguration of Hortobágyi dal ’Hortobágy Song’ (’O blessed Canaan’) was a drinking song with similar open formulas which was very popular until 1800 in Debrecen, as well as in Transdanubia, paraphrased to the region of lake Balaton. A little detail of the Hortobágy Song was torn off from the text by Fazekas and spread as an anonymous popular song after 1820 (just in the life of the author!) as Betyár Dal ’Outlaw Song’. Its English translation was published in the anthology of John Bowring (Poetry of the Magyars, London, 1830). The other poem, the Katonai búcsúének ’Military Farewell Song’ (‘Armies, who often sweat in the workshop of Mars, on the battlefield’) was written after Fazekas was promoted to lieutenant in 1796 and he disarmed unexpectedly. He bids farewell to the excruciating soldier life, which although promises the palm branch of victory, and imitates the rhythm and melody of the contemporary Hungarian marches, in a way writing a counter-song to the tune of trumpets.
Lúdas Matyi (‘Matthew, the Goose Keeper, an original Hungarian tale’), an epic poem written by Mihály Fazekas in 1804 (published in 1815 and 1817 in Vienna), is the earliest known Hungarian variant of the tale type ATU 1538 (The Revenge of the Cheated Man). The poem has been interpreted as a pioneer work that introduced a peasant hero as well as the genre of the (despised) tale into Hungarian literature. Yet, hardly any variants of this tale type have been recorded from Hungarian oral tradition in the past two centuries. The author investigates this seeming contradiction, and analysing the eight oral variants as well as popular literacy argues that it was precisely the immense (written and theatrical) popularity of the plot that probably hindered the survival of an independent oral tradition of this tale.
The article aims to assess the social and mentalistic history of the Debreczeni Magyar Kalendáriom (“Hungarian Calendar of Debrecen”), edited by Mihály Fazekas for ten years, based upon its short prose texts. The predecessors of the stories in the calendar are mostly German literary texts, or they were taken over from German calendars and anecdote collections, most of which were parables. The majority of the texts belong to the genres of anecdote, but there are also fables, paramyths, short story tales, jokes and crime stories. The purpose behind rewriting the texts in a parable form was to educate the readers to have a practical point of view, as well as to help them with moral orientation. The ideology of Volklsaufklärung is behind the writing of the texts. Fazekas’s knowledge of German literature also takes us closer to the source of his masterwork, Lúdas Matyi, an epic poem. At the turn of the 19th-20th century positivist and literary historical researches connected the work with literary predecessors. The work having a peasant oral tradition would have suited better the Marxist approach in the 1950s, which tried to focus the understanding of the work to the plebeian-patrician conflict, however, only one folklore data was collected to support their claim. The article argues that the story had various written versions in Hungary and Europe in Fazekas’s age, and Fazekas willingly borrowed from contemporary literary pieces and popular readings, thus the written origin cannot be excluded. At the same time, the written sources may indicate the presence of the story in oral form, therefore it is not unlikely that the author might have heard it at one of his posts.
This paper discusses the riddles that appeared in print in the almanac founded and edited by Mihály Fazekas, entitled Debreczeni Magyar Kalendáriom. A total of 48 poetic riddles were published in the appendix of the almanac between 1819 and 1828, without indicating the author. The aim of this paper is to review the previous findings and opinions on the authorship of the texts, as well as to address a few broader questions regarding the 18–19th century riddle tradition in Hungary. It touches upon the antecedents of publishing this text type in Hungarian almanacs and the meaning of the term rejtett szó (logogriph). The last section explores text parallels of the riddles published by Mihály Fazekas that can be found among literary, popular and folk riddles.
It is less known that the poet Mihály Fazekas was interested in astronomy and even published a calendar of his own. The Debreczeni Magyar Kalendariom (“Hungarian Calendar of Debrecen”) was a successful venture, surviving its founder by decades. Instead of the usual prognostications one finds in such calendars, Fazekas published popular astronomical articles of varying length. In these he described the properties of the members of the Solar System, gave their distance from the Earth, their periods, sizes etc. His point of view was definitely modern. Despite some errors originating probably from oversimplification, the calendar provided his readers with current information on the planets. His unpublished manuscripts confirm that he was well versed in mathematical calculations.
Our aim is to reimagine the Hungarian reception of physico-theology, demonstrating its significance in terms of the history of science and cultural science, and to present, with attention to other European sources and parallels, the cultural and literary process that leads us to the beginnings of the oeuvre of Mihály Fazekas and to the works of his contemporaries. We seek to obtain a deeper knowledge of the Hungarian and international sources of physicotheology in terms of the science of history in a Protestant environment in the 18th century, as well as of the first appearance of physico-theology in school education, scientific training and schools. In this endeavour, without attempting to be exhaustive, we have extended the sources to works of piety literature and liturgical literature. The scientific collections, manuscripts and printed materials of the Reformed College of Debrecen and the Reformed College of Sárospatak have been the subjects of this research, although western European sources have been used in the research as well. The principles of physico-theology were first widely introduced in Hungarian language in the works of Benjámin Szőnyi, followed by many of his contemporaries later on in the second half of the 18th century.