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he writer should not talk, should not explain his work. It would be something like explaining a joke.
(Géza Ottlik)

1912 born in Budapest
1923-29 a student of military school at Kőszeg and Budapest
1931-35 studied mathematics and physics at the Budapest University
1945-46 he worked for the Hungarian Radio
1945-57 A secretary to the Hungarian PEN Club. For political reasons, unable to publish his works, he earned his living by translations.
1960 He received a grant from the British Government for his translations
1981 József Attila Prize
1985 Kossuth Prize
1990 he died in Budapest

Writer of novels, short stories, radio plays. Humanist and existentialist. He translated mainly from English (Dickens, Shaw, Osborne, E. Waugh); and German (Th. Mann, G. Keller, Zweig). The slimness of his oeuvre is a straight consequence of his theory of the "algorithm" he drew from mathematics: "...the writer should keep silent if he does not have anything to say. Which is not as easy a demand as it seems to be. After all, it is mainly the need of self-expression that governs the poet. He believes in himself, in the importance of his work. He would not let this belief be shaken. So he keeps on talking. Comments on everything, exhibits and analyses his soul, worries about the fate of the country, saves mankind. Lays down the foundation of a philosophical system, refuses the Nobel Prize, describes his childhood meticulously. And he does it very well, with real skill, and whatever he writes is right, useful and true. What can be objected here? Only the method, which is as if someone who has learnt how to multiply and divide, would for thirty years publish all his - right and true - results. Just imagine, if he learns the art of raising a sum to higher powers or of extracting roots, or even deriving and integrating: what orgies could he have! When the mathematician has made a tool, he never uses it again. What he preserves is the way of making the tool, the method that had led to success, the algorithm. He never calculates results, he works on the building of mathematics." (from Prose)


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