The page of Karinthy Frigyes, English biography

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Karinthy Frigyes


Born June 24, 1887 in Budapest; died August 29, 1938 in Siófok. Humorist, short-story writer, novelist, poet, critic, translator. Father a clerk in Ganz factory. Family experienced economic hardships. Completed gymnasium studies in Budapest. Began writing early; his Nászutazás a Föld középpontja felé, a novel, was published in Magyar Képes Világ in 1902; writings appeared regularly in periodicals from 1906 on, including Az Újság, Budapesti Napló, Borsszem Jankó (humor magazine), and Budapesti Hírlap. Entered University of Budapest to study mathematics and natural science and then medicine, but wide-ranging interests made strict regimen unendurable and he decided to become journalist. Formed friendship with Dezső Kosztolányi (q.v.) at university in 1906. His short stories and poems appeared in Nyugat, with which he was associated until his death. Widely known as humorist mainly until outbreak of World War I. During war he openly opposed inhumanity and destructiveness of war. Supported October Revolution in 1918. At beginning of 1920's his writings were morbid and not many were published. In closing years of 1920's, he resumed attacks on society in poems, fiction, and articles. Underwent partially successful surgery for brain tumor in Stockholm in 1936.
Very prolific and popular writer. Wrote poetry and criticism but best known for humorous writings. First true humorist in 20th century Hungarian literature, and his caricatures of Hungarian and foreign writers in Így írtok ti remain his most popular work. His thought was strongly affected by developments of science and all fields of learning, and he believed that man would establish world order based on peaceful uses of knowledge. Criticized all forms of existing governments and societies. Viewed himself as rationalist and encyclopedist. Influenced by ideas of Freud. Noted for translations of Swift and Milne.
Capillária has been translated into Czech and French; Görbe tükör into Slovakian; A bűvös szék into Chinese and Slovakian; Tanár úr kérem into Czech, Esthonian, German, Hebrew, and Polish; Utazás a koponyám körül into English, Danish, French, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish; Utazás Faremidóba into Czech, German, and Spanish; and some of his poems and short stories into Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Rumanian, Serbian, and Slovakian.

Hungarian Authors. A Bibliographical Handbook by Albert Tezla
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