Madách Imre is one of the more famous Hungarian writers, mostly for his work, The Tragedy of Man, which is a 15-scene poem/play, much in the spirit of Paradise Lost, though with a decidedly Hungarian flare for morbid depressive cautionary religious tale peppered with pro-Protestant anti-Catholicism. Lucifer is the main protagonist, though he’s more villainous than Milton’s Satan or Goethe’s Mephistopheles.
Anywayyyyyyy, even though I won’t be rushing to see it anytime soon, the play is still performed widely in Hungary. This is the synopsis from his Hungarian biography and it absolutely cracks me up. Seriously, where was this person when I was trying to write my thesis synopsis?:
In The Tragedy of Man Madách takes us from the hour when Adam and Eve were innocently walking in the Garden of Eden to the times of the Pharaohs; then to the Athens of Miltiades; to declining Rome; to the period of the crusades; into the study of the astronomer Kepler; thence into the horrors of the French Revolution; into greed-eaten and commerce-ridden modern London; nay, into the ultra-Socialist state of the future, when all the former ideals of man will by scientific formula be shown up in their hollowness; still further, the poet shows the future of ice-clad earth when man will be reduced to a degraded brute dragging on the misery of his existence in a cave. The diction of the drama is elevated and pure, and although not meant for the stage, it has proved very effective at several public performances. I bet it has!
Madách was born in Alsósztregova, now in Slovakia. His mentor was the famous Hungarian poet János Arany. Madách was part of the great revolution of 1848-49 and was imprisoned. When he got back to his estate in Nógrád, his family life was ruined and he withdrew from public life. Then he died of heart disease just as he was getting famous.
But, he was an important literary figure for Hungary and he looks really kind of fabulous in this Margit Island statue.
From the poem:
My sentinels, begin your orbiting.