Babits, Mihály (Michael) (Szekszárd, 26 November 1883 - Budapest, 4 August 1941) – Poet, writer, essayist, translator of literara works. After Endre (Andrew) Ady and Zsigmond (Sigismund) Móricz he was the most prominent member of the literary circle West (Nyugat). Between 1906 and 1908 he taught at a high school in Szeged. From 1902 his poems and translations were published in daily papers and numerous journals. The first volume of Tomorrow (Holnap) published some of his poems, amongst them the Turán March (Turáni induló) and the Black Country (Fekete ország). He later became a permanent contributor to the literary review West (Nyugat). In 1909 his first book, Poems: Letters from the Wreath of Iris (Versek: Levelek Irisz Koszorújából) was published. As a young lyricist he was already a master of classic styles. The outbreak of World War I was painful to him. Because of publishing his poem Fortissimo, the state authorities closed down the paper Nyugat, started a lawsuit against him, and confiscated his earnings. In spite of his conservative stand he sympathized with civil radicalism and later defended his stand during the Revolution of 1918-1919. His disappointment with the liberal political views, and especially with the Communist terror, made him uncommunicative and lonely. He was well known not only for his poems and prose, but also for his ability to organize literary events. His poetic output includes Recitativ, (1916); Valley of Restlessness (Nyugtalanság völgye) (1920); Island and Sea (Sziget és tenger) (1925); Book of Jonah (Jónás könyve) (1938). Some of his novels are: Christmas Madonna (Karácsonyi Madonna) (1920); The Son of Virgil Timár (Timár Virgil fia) (1922); Sons of Death (Halál fiai) (1927); Dog Market (Kutyavásár) (1923); In the Shadow of the Tower (A torony árnyékában) (1933); Elza Pilot…(Elza pilóta…) (1933), and Criss-crossing Over My Life (Keresztül kasul az életemen) (1939). He translated Dante’s Divine Comedy (Isteni színjáték), Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Vihar), and Goethe’s Iphigenie auf Tauris (Iphigenia in Taurist – Iphigenia Taurisban). His most outstanding work is The History of European Literature vols. i-ii (Az európai irodalom
története I-II) shows his enthusiasm for a united European culture. He was curator of the Baumgarten Foundation, and supported young poets and writers, such as Gyula (Julius) Illyés, Lőrincz (Laurence) Szabó and Károly (Charles) Pap. He was a member of the Kisfaludy Society. Babits was one of the greatest figures of 20th century Hungarian literature. – B: 0883, 1257, T: 7666.→Ady, Endre; Móricz, Zsigmond; Illyés, Gyula; Szabó, Lőrinc; Bélia, György; Török Sophie;Pap, Károly.