*b. 1823 d. 1849
Hungary's Great Revolutionary Poet Laureate, Thespian, Soldier
and National Hero.
Till this day researchers still wonder what realy happened
to Petôfi after the battle Segesvár. Was the yeang heroic poet soldier
of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 really killed while fighting
in civilian clothe, or was he captured and sent off to Siberia by
the Tsarist military? And what about those strong reports of people
throughout Hungary who claimed to have been seen Petôfi alive and
well? One thing is for sure, hiss passing, though it created a legend
out of a once real live hero, robbed the Hungarian people of a
bright young man.
Petôfi Sándor born in Kiskôrös, his early formative years in Kiskunfélegyháza,
developed strong dislike for authoritarianism during the schoolage
years, never quite being to stay put at any given school for any
longer period of time. He was by no means uninterested in learning,
but was against the method applied. In fact he was always busy reading
all manner of books. However, Petôfi, whose father was a well-to-do
land-owner and Barkeeper, failed to find interest in the private
college his father sent him to at age fifteen (1838), and after
having fallen in love with wat he saw about life as a Playhouse
actor he ascaped from the college and became a wandering thespian.
His father, who had in the meantime gone broke, disinherited his
son. A year later the young man was enlisted as a soldier in the
Austro-Hungarian Imperial Army. However, barely two years later,
he was deemed unfit to serve by a compassinate physician who noticed
the psychological strain the young man was going through. After
beeing dismissed he made another effort at
getting an education, and then once more tried another go at acting.
In 1842 his first published poem, The Wine Cellar, appeared. During
this time he travelled around the country. He spent the Winter of
1843–44 in Debrecen, nearly dying in powerty. Thus, as soon as early
Spring neared and the weather made possible he walked all the way
to Pest-Buda, where he was able to get the kind of support he needed.
Vörösmarty Mihály, the great revolutionery writer, helped get Petôfi's
poetry collections published, and another gentelman gave him a position
as associate editor at his style magazine. All this inspired Petôfi
to produce greater and greater masterpieces of poetry and prose
with his volume bringing him great fame. His works were so exciting
and well witten that even commoners, people who had hardly ever
read anything of any import, wanted to become highly literate overlight.
And most importantly for the revolutionary independence movement,
Petôfi became the voice of the reason behind the revolution, for
the wrote words that expressed the spirit of Hungarians at the time.
Their desire for independence and brotherhood, for nation and democracy,
and yet their desire for romantic love and chivarly. Petôfi used
his newfound success, his money and time, to study the French Revolution
and to write about these. In the fall of 1846 he met Szendrey Júlia
daugther of a nobleman's estate manager, whom he would marry one
year later in 1847.
Following the birth of the National Theatre, known as the Toldi
Theatre, he made a close friendship with Arany János, one of the
greatest Hungarian writers. And then he reached his peak as a poet
of the people when the first item published by the first free press
on the first day of freedom following the Revolution of 1848, in
which he had had a leading part, was his National Song, became the
official Song of Revolution. Even so, he failed to win the votes
needed as an independent candidate for the National Council, and
his disappointment was obvious. He joint the national guards, gaining
the rank of Captain, and then went on to join the regular militia.
On December the 15th his wife Júlia gave birth to a son he named
Zoltán. With defeat after defeat, he made an effort to fight with
Polish-born revolutionary and military leader holding out in Transylvania.
He had trouble with other officers and lost his rand again, leaving
for while only to return again and fight in civilian clothing. His
body was never recovered. Both Júlia, and his son lived on. Petôfi
today is a highly protected name, and he is only Hungarian hero
that Hungarians will not tolerate criticism of. The National Museum
of Literature is named after him, and it is there where relics of
life and love can bee seen. His most famous poem is his romantic
story János Vitéz, about a peasant born soldier hero, which all
Hungarian children are required to read in school.