This essay focuses on the relationship between Hungarian literature and economy in the nineteenth century. It does not o7er a sociological analysis of the capitalist turn of literary life. Instead, it examines how Hungarian literary authors themselves reflected upon the economic conditions of possibility of making literature. In the first third
... of the century, literary authors did not aim to earn money with their works: they presented their oeuvre as a sacrifice to the muses or to the nation. By the mid-nineteenth century, a literary market emerged in Hungary and literary authors pictured themselves as active agents on the market. This was the first time writers could earn a living from publishing. By the end of the century, the mass production of literature enabled the emergence of wealthy authors, but it also made literary failure possible, which could result in their impoverishment.