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( 1933 - 1995 )


1933 born in Szatmárhegy (Viile Satu Mare, Romania)
1957 graduates in law from the University of Kolozsvár (Cluj, Romania)
1949-57 works for several journals
1957 imprisoned for political reasons
1963 physical labourer and bibliographer
1971-73 copy editor at Kriterion Publishers, Bucharest
1974 moves to Budapest and works as an editor for the literary journal Kortárs
1995 dies in Budapest

His prizes include:
1977 Attila József Prize, 1993 Kossuth Prize

Red Bird

1956 Piros madár (Red Bird) Géza Páskándi was a writer with a wide range of poems, plays, prose and juvenile literature. Driven by thirst for freedom and intellectual passion, he was a thinker often dealing with the fate of the Hungarian minority in Transylvania. Given that his parents were physical labourers, he was all but destined to be a writer of the working class, but his experimental nature always diverted him from political formalism. He was a member of the so-called Forrás (Source) generation in Transylvania. His first collection of poems is about the “red bird” of hope, showing the influence of Attila József, Endre Ady and Vladimir Maiakovski.

Moon Boomerang

1966 Holdbumeráng (Moon Boomerang) After the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, Páskándi was imprisoned for six years. His second volume of verse continues the experimentation not on a formal, but rather an existential level; he struggles to describe existence, but realises that it cannot be separated from the life of the given individual. His philosophy is best summarized in the short poem “Ode”: I don’t have time to praise your cooking: right now I am eating – I don’t have time to write poems about your body: right now I caress you – Matter, I don’t have time to crown your opus, for I am living it! In this volume he began to realise that, given the political circumstances, his all-encompassing desires are absolutely impossible to fulfil, and he began to develop his own style that showed the influence of the absurd.

Eye of The Needle

1972 Tű foka (Eye of The Needle) In this collection of poems intellectualism becomes the central theme. Although he is well acquainted with the classical tradition, he leaves it behind and turns toward the grotesque, the dissimilar and the dissonant. In order to find a form for the “metaphysics of thinking”, he uses “transcendental grammar” that uses the visible world only as a basis for unlimited association, turning to expressionism, surrealism and folk poetry for inspiration.

The Honour of the Dry-Cleaner

1973 A vegytisztító becsülete (The Honour of the Dry-Cleaner) In his short stories, Páskándi preferred parable and intellectual strain; his heroes argue about philosophy, and the resulting story is almost always absurd. Thinking is more important than the story, but the exhilaration of philosophy saves the situation. The main question in these “absurdoids” (avoiding the appearance of the “absurd” for political reasons) is freedom. “Style is existence and existence is style” says Páskándi and with the help of intellectual playfulness shows the irredeemable situation of Hungarians in Transylvania and mankind in general.

Transylvanian Trptych

1984 Erdélyi triptichon (Transylvanian Trptych) The central characters of the plays of the Transylvanian Trilogy stand helpless and unarmed in tragic, absurd situations. The first play, Vendégség (Company, 1970), has the unitarian theologist Ferenc Dávid as a hero, who has a “guest”, another theologist, in fact a spy, who is reporting on him to Dávid’s foes, but is equally at the mercy of absolute powers. The hero of the second play, Tornyot választok (Choosing a Tower, 1973), is the great Transylvanian writer and educator János Apáczai Csere, who is constantly facing the burden of responsibility, while the third play, Szekértől elfutott lovak (Horses Runnung Astray) has a similar hero in the person of Simon Péchi.


1991 A sírrablók (Grave-Robbers) This important and relevant novel is about the fate of the Hungarian minority in Romania in the 20th century, especially in the communist regime. This substantial volume is full of monologues and dialogues documenting the sufferings of a country and its minority, an agitated but objective indictment against dictatorial regimes and history in general. Declares Páskándi, “Where normal people are silenced, fools must speak up.”

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