János Arany Memorial Year 2017

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As a keeper of the majority of Arany manuscripts, not to mention other reasons, National Széchényi Library has been playing a significant role in professional preparations for János Arany Memorial Year 2017 right from the start. The Hungarian national library will offer various programs in order to celebrate the memorial year in a manner it truly deserves.
At the request of the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Dr. László Boka, Director of Research and Academic Affairs, NSZL became a member of the Arany Memorial Committee, a board responsible for the coordination of the planned programs with institutions in and outside Hungary and for the organization of professional, academic and informative programs.

In line with that, in 2016 National Széchényi Library prepared a series of programs based on three pillars: exhibition and web-based content service; national reciting competition; scientific session and book publishing. Using partly NKA (National Cultural Fund of Hungary) funds, these programs will naturally be completed throughout the Memorial Year.



In April 2017, NSZL will open its interactive János Arany exhibition entitled “Others get laurel only by leaves…” -- Treasures, cult, impact history in the National Relic and Ars Librorum exhibition spaces, which will be accompanied by book presentations, podium discussions, special guided tours and irregular lessons in Hungarian literature until the end of November 2017. The exhibition is based on unique treasures stored in the Manuscript Collection of National Széchényi Library, but it also focuses on issues such as Arany and his contemporaries, reception of Arany and wider cult, presenting, among others, celebrations that took place 100 years ago. (Curators: literary historians Zsuzsanna Rózsafalvi and Mónika Borbély.)


Related to the bicentenary and with the cooperation of Magyar Írószövetség (Association of Hungarian Writers), Szépírók Társasága (Fiction Writers Association), FISZ (Young Writers Association), JAK (Attila József Circle) and E-MIL (Transylvanian Hungarian Writers' League), NSZL will collect autograph manuscript poems by 200 contemporary Hungarian poets within and beyond the borders of Hungary, dedicated to memory of János Arany, or related to his oeuvre. These poems will be stored in a special library unit of NSZL’s Manuscript Collection. The Collection of Historical Interviews of NSZL is making video interviews with several contemporary poets about János Arany’s major impact on poetry and translation and about Arany paraphrases by contemporary Hungarian poets. Our exhibition will also present a selection of the above-mentioned autograph manuscripts and video interviews.


Arany János balladái Zichy Mihály rajzaivalNational Széchényi Library, Magyartanárok Egyesülete (Association of Hungarian Teachers) and Magyar Olvasástársaság (Hungarian Reading Association) invite participants to a reciting competition entitled “Te aranyok Aranya!” (You Gold (Arany) of Golds!), to be held in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of János Arany. The competition will be held for Hungarian secondary school students from within and beyond Hungary’s borders. Patron of the three-level competition (local school competitions, seven regional finals) is poet Sándor Kányádi. (Chief organizers of the reciting competition are Jolán Mann and Annamária Sudár.) Regional finals will be held between October 14 and November 17, 2017 at seven various locations across the country. These locations can be approached relatively easily even by students living beyond the borders of Hungary.


National finals will take place in the framework of János Arany Family Days (November 24–25) on November 25, 2017, in the Ceremonial Hall of National Széchényi Library. President of the jury of the competition will be Piroska Molnár, Actor of the Nation. The family day will include craft activities, led by binders and restores of NSZL, as well as common play and an Advent book fair.


On the two days following the national finals (on November 23 and 24, 2017), NSZL Scientific Session related to the Library Foundation Day will be held. It is a traditional conference of National Széchényi Library, the first day of which will be dedicated to the 215th anniversary of the Library Foundation, while the second day will be dedicated to János Arany’s oeuvre (invited plenary speakers: Péter Dávidházi and László Szörényi).


The two-day scientific session will be closed by the finishing ceremony of our Arany exhibition, by professional guided tours of the exhibition and by a joint Arany concert of folk music group Kaláka and Péter Huzella.


The memorial year will be accompanied by significant scientific publishing activities. Several conference volumes and a catalog of the exhibition will be published. A volume including texts written by contemporary poets on the request of NSZL’s Manuscript Collection will also be compiled. – According to our plans, a volume of studies entitled Arany János és a korabeli művelődéstörténet (János Arany and Contemporary Cultural History) (edited by András Cieger) will be published jointly with HAS Research Centre for the Humanities and Universitas Publishing House by the bicentenary, by early March 2017. In cooperation with Kossuth Publishing House, NSZL will publish a facsimile of the decorative edition of Toldi published 100 years ago. In cooperation with the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, a facsimile edition of Arany ballads illustrated by Mihály Zichy was published last year.