Šinko, Ervin

views updated


ŠINKO, ERVIN (Franjo Spitzer ; 1898–1967), Yugoslav author and literary Communist from his youth. He published his first Hungarian verse collection, Éjszakák és hajnalok ("Nights and Dawns"), in 1916. He later wrote fiction and drama which appeared in both Croatian and Hungarian, and became a prominent editor and critic of Hungarian literature. Having played a part in Béla *Kun's abortive revolution and Soviet regime (1919), Šinko subsequently fled to Paris, where he wrote his most realistic novel, Optimisti ("The Optimists") in 1934. Although the book – which describes the revolution, its Jewish heroes, and its overthrow – gained the enthusiastic commendation of Romain Rolland, it was first published 20 years later in Yugoslavia (1953–54). Šinko's vain attempt to have his novel published in Moscow at the time of the Great Purges (1935–37) is depicted in his diary, Roman jednog romana ("A Novel about a Novel," 1955). After his return to Yugoslavia in 1939, Šinko fought with Tito's partisans and gained official recognition for his skillful polemics against the Soviet line following the split in the Cominform (1948). He wrote other novels, short stories, essays, and literary studies, and some of his works appeared in German and Russian periodicals. Šinko displayed a positive attitude toward his Jewish origin and cultural background in his literary and autobiographical writings. Aronova ljubav ("The Love of Aaron," 1951), a lyric story, with ḥasidic motifs interwoven in the central character, tells of a Jewish revolutionary who fights in the Spanish Civil War and later perishes in the Holocaust. In 1959, Šinko was appointed professor of Hungarian language and literature at the University of Novi Sad. As a Croatian author, he was also elected to full membership of the Yugoslav Academy of Arts and Sciences in Zagreb.

[Cecil Roth]