The Beggar of Beauty (1922)

The Beggar of Beauty (1922)

Szépség koldusa (The Beggar of Beauty) (1922)
Written by Attila József
Introductory study by György Tverdota
National Széchényi Library – Kossuth Publishing House, 2019, 62 pages
ISBN 978-963-099-607-5

1 990,- Ft

‘They took me to be an infant prodigy but it was just the fact that I was an orphan’ – was later written by Attila József in his autobiography, who published his first independent collection of poems, Szépség koldusa (The Beggar of Beauty), in December 1922, in a printing and publishing business in Szeged, in a total of three hundred copies. The seventeen-year-old student cannot claim a usual start of his poet career: prominent poet Gyula Juhász wrote a preface to the volume, referring to the young author as a “poet by the grace of God”.

Ferenc Fejtő already emphasized that József Attila found his voice very early, but not immediately. The Szépség koldusa (The Beggar of Beauty) shows a young man still living in an era of emotional turmoil. He handles the lyrical forms confidently for his age, but in his poems the influence of the poets of the Nyugat (West), like Ady, Kosztolányi and especially Gyula Juhász is strongly felt. Attila József is already perfectly aware of the importance of starting a poem; his upbeats are very strong: „Valami nagy-nagy tüzet kéne rakni, / Hogy melegednének az emberek” (Tél, 1922) [Let’s start a great, great fire / To keep the people warm (Winter, 1922)], „Fuldoklik már a széternyedt szoba” (Nyári délután a szobában, 1922) [The squeaky room is already drowning (Summer afternoon in the room, 1922)]. In the years that followed, he wrote poems in the manner of the poets of Nyugat for a long time to come, but he soon realizes that he is still not identical to the ‘beggar of beauty,’ and a period of restless self-seeking ensues.

The volume was published with György Tverdota’s introductory study.