Is there even a chance that the works of Sándor Petőfi will ever break free from the stereotypes they have spawned? Or will he always just be the poet who wrote Anyám tyúkja (My Mother's Hen) and the Nemzeti dal (National Song)? There is no question that, perhaps more than any other Hungarian poet, Petőfi has been placed in a restricted role and framework of interpretation, with the bad memories of the posthumous use as a slogan of ‘Lobogónk, Petőfi!' (Petőfi, Our Flag!) by the Hungarian government, which helped to create a one-sided and rather drab view of a poet who, in reality, was a genuine multifaceted talent, his work full of subtle shades of meaning. This may explain the fact that while many people who have completed Hungarian secondary school can repeat the story of what happened on 15 March 1848, only the two works mentioned above and Szeptember végén (At the End of September) usually spring to mind when they are asked about Petőfi's literary works.
This Literarium Junior edition would like to change this with a new performance from a selection of Petőfi's work by the outstanding Attila József Award-winning poet Balázs Szálinger, who has similarly been working to create a current and positive understanding of Petőfi. "It's terrible how Petőfi is used in Hungarian literature education. They use him for everything except for the good stuff. He could be our best possible ambassador for Hungarian teenagers. He's charming, playful, cool, f...unny, nasty, and so on. And yet he is placed before us as though he were a lifeless force. He is the one who is castrated and made uninteresting,” says Szálinger.
Which is why, in addition to the great classic poems, Szálinger's unusual literature class will also focus on the ‘unknown Petőfi', as he depicts a thrilling new portrait of the poet, complete with previously unknown details of Petőfi's personal life story.
It promises to be an educational evening, full of surprises and rich in discovery.
Age: 14-18 year
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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