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Endre Ady’s Life and Memory in Debrecen

One hundred years ago, on January 27, 1919, Endre Ady, one of the greatest poets of the Hungarian literature, died.

Ady was born into an impoverished noble family, studied law in Debrecen, but he was more attracted to bohemian life, so he became a journalist in 1898. Although he spent only three years in Debrecen, it was a defining moment in his life: because it was here that he became a journalist and poet, switching from being a law student.

Almost 150 of his writings have been published, mainly in ‘The Debrecen’ newspaper, the ‘Debrecen Inspector’ and the ‘Debrecen Morning Newspaper’.

He lived in the small courtyard room of the house at 4 Mester Street, together with a widow and his son Ernő Ember, who was also a law student. According to the stories of Teréz Piskóty, whose great-grandfather was Ady’s roommate Ernő Ember, Ady recited his poems to Teréz’s great-grandfather, standing on his bed, with the bedspread on his shoulder.

Ady’s memory is preserved in the city during the festival of poetry each April and at various sites throughout the city. 

A copy of his first poetry volume, dedicated to Ilona Varga, can still be seen in the Museum of Literature, while his most famous monument is located in the Great Forest Park next to the Medgyessy Promenade. The monument is the Miklós Melocco’s suggestive work (1977) where the poet faces his own death mask.

An important part of the Great Forest is the avenue named after the poet, and in the downtown, there is Ady Park. There is also a high school named after Ady, with a 1961 bust portrait of Makris Agamemnon inside.

The memorial plaque of the former editorial office of “Debrecen – Oradea Bulletin” is hanging the Dósa Palatine Square, while a memento on the wall of the former English Queen Hotel in nearby Kossuth Street informs that Ady Endre spent his evenings in the hotel’s Bunda restaurant between 1896 and ’97.

In addition, a memorial plaque commemorates the main courtyard of the University of Debrecen.

On the 100th anniversary of the poet’s death, several exhibitions give an insight into the early life of Endre Ady in Debrecen including the “Álmodó magyarok” exhibition at the Museum of Literature or the musical literature event  “Száz titok kavarog – Ady Endre 100” (Hundred Secrets Swirling – Ady Endre 100) as the part of the Debrecen Autumn Festival.

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