I spent last week in Budapest but was somewhat disappointed with the literary offerings. I asked around and found only only literary house/museum – the Petőfi Literary Museum, devoted to the poet Sándor Petőfi. Sándor Petőfi lived in the early nineteenth century, became a famous poet (actually making his living from poetry) and has since become Hungary’s national poet. He was involved in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 but failed to get elected and joined the Hungarian Revolutionary Army. He was last seen alive at the Battle of Segesvár but disappeared during or after the battle. His body was never found. The display was excellent, with a fair amount in English. More interesting to me is that the back of the museum was devoted to Milán Füst, a distinguished poet but who also wrote the novel A feleségem története (The Story of My Wife), which has been translated into English. As well as information about his life and work, the museum showed many of the old and rare art works he collected as well as his keen interest in music.
Though there were no houses to visit (I was told that many of the writers lived elsewhere in Hungary and, of course, Budapest has been badly damaged many times during its history, including by the Germans at the end of World War II), there were statues/busts and street names galore. To the right you will see a bust of Mór Jókai, one of Hungary’s great writers and very prolific. As he lived in the nineteenth century, he will not appear on my site but I have read a few of his books (quite a few have been translated into English) and can highly recommend them, if you like big nineteenth century historical romances à la Walter Scott. Though statues and busts of Liszt and various politicians were ubiquitous, I still came across a few writers.
The photo to the left was taken in a book shop. Yes, it does look like a magnificent Viennese café and, indeed, it is, but it is also the Alexandra Book Café. The scones were excellent. They only had a few Hungarian books translated into English and this was the case at the other book shops we visited. Irok Boltja and BestSellers were also worth visiting. And we also enjoyed the Liszt Museum.