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Kaffka Margit
(1880–1918)
 

Biography

Born June 10, 1880 in Nagykároly; died December 1, 1918 in Budapest. Novelist, short-story writer, poet. Descendant of family of gentry, which was poor by time of her birth; father a lawyer. After father's death, when she was six, she lived with mother in Szatmár, where she completed her schooling and obtained teaching certificate in 1898. Taught in charitable institute in Miskolc 1898-1899 and then registered in Erzsébet Nőiskola, from which she obtained certificate to teach in higher elementary schools in 1902. Devoted most of her time for 15 years to teaching in Miskolc and Budapest. Married Brunó Fröhlich in 1905; divorced him in 1910. Her poems began to appear in Magyar Géniusz in 1901. She was associated with Nyugat from its founding in 1908, and began to publish fiction in 1905. In 1914 married Ervin Bauer, physician and younger brother of Béla Balázs (q.v.). During World War I lived in Budapest and Temesvár, where her husband was stationed. Gave up teaching to devote time to literary career in 1915, including various kinds of publicist writings. Both she and son died of influenza near end of war.
Wrote poetry, but her novels and short stories make her the foremost woman writer in Hungarian literature and place her on a level with major literary figures of her own times. Central themes: decay of gentry and problems of women in period of great social change. Strongly humanitarian toward those seeking to hold on to past but disapproving of their reasons and pointing toward need for change without becoming didactic. Színek és évek considered to be her best work. Also wrote children's literature.
Színek és évek has been translated into Czech, German, and Polish, and some of her poems and short stories into French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Rumanian, Russian, and Serbian.
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