József Katona

József Katona (11 November 1791 Kecskemét - 16 April 1830 Kecskemét) was a Hungarian playwright and poet, creator of the Hungarian drama: author of the legendary historical tragedy: "Bánk bán".


József Katona studied at the University of Pest as a lawyer, and at the same time, he took part in theatrical life of the capital: he was an actor, he wrote several plays, and he also translated and adapted German melodramatic works for the Hungarian stage. He hopelessly loved the leading Hungarian actress, Mme. Déry, but she never recognized this love.

József Katona wrote "Bánk bán", his most important drama for a literary competition organized by a Kolozsvár periodical in 1815. The competition required a historical drama with a Hungarian background. The result of the competition was disappointment for Katona: his "Bánk Bán" was not mentioned at all. He rewrote the play and published it privately in 1820, but it remained unnoticed until the mid-1830s. He returned to his native town Kecskemet. In the last ten years of his life, he wrote no more for the stage. Katona died on April 16, 1830, of a heart-attack in front of his office.


* "Aubigny Clementina", 1813
* "Ziska", 1813
* "Jeruzsálem pusztulása", 1814
* "A rózsa, vagy a tapasztalatlan légy a pókok között", 1814
* [http://mek.oszk.hu/00700/00723/00723.htm Bánk bán] (Hungarian text), 1815; final version, 1819

Bánk bán

The story was about Bánk, the viceroy appointed by King Andrew II (1205-35), while the King was away on his foreign campaigns. Bánk became involved in a conspiracy against the German-born wife of the king; he tries to prevent the rebellion, but finally he is the man who kills the queen. The reason for his murdering was political and personal at the same time: Queen Gertrude took part in a plot, the result of which was the seduction of Bánk’s wife. Bánk's complex character and the deep conflict between the duty and the personal grief make Bánk bán one of the best Hungarian dramas. It was written at the time when the intellectuals of the country opposed Habsburg absolutism, and the drama is about mediaeval times when Hungary’s nobility fought against foreign usurpers as well, so the drama had been blacklisted by the government. In 1848 in the evening of March 15, the Hungarian National Theater scheduled a performance of Bánk Bán. It was a symbolic event, part of the Hungarian revolution.


*József Katona: Bánk bán (The viceroy), translated by Bernard Adams and Kálmán Ruttkay; foreword written by László Orosz - Budapest : Akad. K., cop. 2003.

ee also

*Bánk bán, opera by Ferenc Erkel
*Bánk Bán (film), a 1914 film by Michael Curtiz

External links

* [http://www.mek.oszk.hu/02100/02139/html/sz13/168.html Magyar Színházművészeti Lexikon]
* [http://www.museum.hu/search/museum.asp?ID=97 Katona József Emlékház Kecskemét]

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