Szép, Ernő

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SZÉP, ERNŐ (1884–1953), Hungarian poet and author. Born in Huszt, Szép began writing poetry at a very early age and went into journalism, first in Debrecen and later in Budapest. His delicate, refined verse reflects the life of poor rural Jews and sees the world through the innocent eyes of a child.

Szép's works include Elalvó hattyú ("Drowsing Swan," 1924), a verse collection; Lila akác ("Purple Acacia," 1919), and Valentine (1927; Marriage for One, 1929), novels. His stories dealt with types that had not previously appeared in Hungarian literature – performers and circus artists, whose slang was accompanied by the rich, varied, and deep-rooted Hungarian of Szép's books. His novel Dali-dali-dal (1934) perpetuates the memory of his father. Szép also wrote the plays Az egyszeri királyfi ("Once Upon a Time There Was a Prince," 1914), Patika ("Pharmacy," 1919), and Azra (1930), based on a poem by Heine. His book Emberszag ("Human Smell," 1945) tells of the suffering of Jews in Budapest during the Holocaust.


Magyar Zsidó Lexikon (1929), 843–4; Magyar Irodalmi Lexikon, 3 (1965), 212–4.

[Baruch Yaron]