Bessenyei, György dyör´dyə bĕ´shĕnyā [key], 1747–1811, Hungarian dramatist and writer. In Vienna he came in contact with French rationalism and was an ardent follower of Voltaire and the Encyclopedists. Bessenyei's major importance lay in his encouraging the revival of the Hungarian language, rather than in the merits of his own works. His play The Philosopher (1777) was among the first modern comic works written in Hungarian. Bessenyei has been called the father of modern Hungarian literature.
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