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János Géczi
( 1954 )


János Géczi was born in Monostorpályi in 1954. From 1972 he studied biology, then switched to anthropology in his third year of college. From 1988-1999 he was the director for the Institute of
Educational Research’s publishing house, and from 1990 he edited a journal for teachers. Since 1995 he has been teaching anthropology and ethics.
Géczi’s oeuvre is quite diverse. His Vadnarancsok (Wild Oranges) is the sociological treatment of deviant youths through the reconstruction of four life stories. His so-called “shape poems” are considered important examples of visual lyricism, while Tiltott ábrázolások könyve (Th e Book of Forbidden Depictions) combines the genres of the traditional
novel, the essay novel, and the diary. In his poems, space and time are given a special role. His entire oeuvre is characterized by a combination of genres. Géczi’s method of blending styles and genres
can also be seen in his artwork; in fact, the visual and the verbal build upon each other both in his art and his writings. Th e pictorial qualities that he brings to his poems are therefore an exciting and
recurring element, while his works of art (collages and montages) fi nd themselves demanding the presence of a text. Indeed, János Géczi’s works in both media are experiments in bridging them.

The Four or Five Lives of Viotti

János Géczi’s novel Viotti négy vagy öt élete (Viotti’s Four or Five Lives) is the imaginative treatment of the possible life stories of Mór Aurél Ágoston Viotti, the owner of a paper mill. The novel takes the reader into Viotti’s life: in the 1930s, a printing house purchases the paper for some volumes of a lexicon from Viotti’s paper mill, but besides the VM initials, there is nothing to indicate its origin. The starting point of the novel is the unknown manufacturer of the paper; it then goes in search of possible lives, both for VM and other characters from the 18th through the 20th centuries. As the stories progress, Viotti’s amorous adventure receives more and more attention, adventures that intertwine with and determines his career. Books and love lie at the heart of Viotti’s existence. Paper, the words written on it and the love of women are closely linked in Viotti’s story, and just like in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Charlotte Bronte’s works, his letters not only provide us with portraits of the women he loves, but also feed the fi re of his need to write further letters. The novel is also accented by its interwoven web of references to nature. Th e subtitles of the chapters are provided by the seasons, which are closely linked to the outcome of each chapter, and are further linked to the world of plants and animals. For example, in the second chapter bearing the subtitle “Winter”, white becomes the dominant color, snow and frost dominate the landscape whose tranquility is pierced, like the quill that pierces the delicate paper, by Viotti’s cry of desperation. Th en, as if to resolve the crisis, snowdrops appear heralding in the advent of spring, the title of the following chapter. The idea at the center of Géczi’s latest novel is that true stories are actually those that an outside observer cannot conceive, and that these recurring events and life stories, which in many ways partially resemble each other, are part of a larger cycle that cannot be discovered, only felt.

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