My paper gives an outline of the literary career of the 20th-century Hungarian poet Erdélyi József between 1921 and 1944. What makes Erdélyi an interesting subject for such a case study is the fact that he was one of the apparently very few poets of the period who thought of literature as a full-time job. The paper surveys the reception of E
...rdélyi to reconstruct the ideological context that has determined his position-takings and strategies. The paper finds that the public discourse of the period was deeply divided between pro- and anti-capitalist opinions and that the habitus of Erdélyi was similarly torn: his career shows signs of alternately trying to adapt to the marketplace and to become a dominant player on the one hand – and rejecting calculations and rationality on the other.