Illyés, Gyula

Illyés, Gyula dyo͝o´lŏ ĭl´yās [key], 1902–83, Hungarian poet and novelist. Illyés came from a poor peasant family. He was educated in Budapest and Paris and supported himself with menial jobs, writing only in his spare time. During World War II he was associated with the journal Nyugat. After the liberation of Hungary he became a member of parliament, withdrawing from public life when the Stalinists rose to power. In his poetry Illyés was a spokesman for the oppressed peasant class. Greater universality and an appeal for national and individual liberty mark his later work.

See his autobiographical novel, People of the Puszta (1936, tr. 1967); selected poetry in A Tribute to Gyula Illyés, ed. by T. Kabdebo and P. Tabori (1960).

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