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Ferenc MÓRA
( 1879 - 1934 )


1879 born in Kiskunfélegyháza
1897-1900 studies Geography at Budapest University of Sciences; teaches in a village school
1902 editor of the Szeged Journal (Szegedi Napló), the sole newspaper not serving war propaganda
1913-19 editor-in-chief of the Szeged Journal
1917 director of the Municipal Museum and Library, Szeged
1922 editor of the liberal newspaper Világ (The World)
1925 travels to Italy
1929 travels to Spain
1931 member of the Kisfaludy Society
1934 dies in Budapest

The Treasure-hunting Smock

The Treasure-hunting Smock Ferenc Móra was a writer of regional prose with notable achievements in several genres: novels, short stories, sketches, essays and children s literature, and he even published valuable reports on prehistoric archaeological sites in the Hungarian lowlands. His best-known children s novel, The Treasure-hunting Smock, is an autobiographical piece. Told from a little boy s point of view, with humour and a lightness of touch, the story is full of small, thorough details, clear examples of the child s sensitivity, which prevent the novel from becoming too sentimental. Gergő s father, a poor furrier, makes a magic smock for his son, who must look after the garment because there is a fairy living in it, and when wearing this coat, he must tell the truth. In the course of the novel, it comes to embody Gergő s conscience; for instance when he gets hold of a telescope by way of cheating, he soon returns it to its lawful owner, a little boy on crutches (and they become friends). The skilful handling of the anecdote is among Móra s greatest merits as a writer. As elsewhere in his oeuvre, he expresses authentic experience with profound insight.

Hannibal Resurrected

Hannibal Resurrected Móra s satirical short novel, which was published posthumously, is a sparkling satire on the state of Hungarian education and cultural affairs in the Horthy era, and the intellectual oppression that suppressed free expression. The novel depicts a frustrated little schoolmaster who writes a treatise on what would have happened to the world had Hannibal won the battle of Zama. Instead of being lauded for his scholarly brilliance, he is humiliated and even attacked in Parliament for his destructive views. The novel was adapted for film by Zoltán Fábri in 1956 (Hannibál tanár úr; Sir Hannibal) and became a classic as well.

Song of the Wheatfields

Song of the Wheatfields Móra s most celebrated novel, noted for its subtle psychology, portrays the tragic life of farmers during the last years of World War I and shortly afterwards, during the Revolution and the counter-revolutionary era. He presents a peasant so deeply attached to his land that he is not prepared to give it up, not even to his own prisoner-of-war son. Móra gives an insight into the mind-set of different generations both conservative attachment to land, and modern peasant life and agriculture. The story was successfully adapted to film by István Szőts in 1947.

The Gold Coffin

The Gold Coffin Móra s historical novel is a richly drawn love-story set in ancient Rome under the Emperor Diocletian, offering an impressive portrait of the Christian-Roman conflict, written with a wry sense of humour, and to some extent applicable to Franz Joseph and his time. Móra portrays the emperor s family and the two lovers tragedy with noticeable warmth.

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