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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kemény, Zsigmond, Baron

< 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica

KEMENY, ZSIGMOND, Baron (1816-1375), Hungarian author, came of a noble but reduced family. In 1837 he studied jurisprudence at Marosvasarhely, but soon devoted himself entirely to journalism and literature. His first unfinished work, On the Causes of the Disaster of M ohacs (1840), attracted much attention. In the same year he studied natural historyiand anatomy at Vienna University. In 1841, along with Lajos Kovacs, he edited the Transylvanian newspaper Erdélyi Hirado. He also took an active part in provincial politics and warmly supported the principles of Count Stephen Széchenyi. In 1846 he moved to Pest, where his pamphlet, Korteskedés és ellcnszerei (Partisanship and its Antidote), had already made him famous. Here he consorted with the most eminent of the moderate reformers, and for a time was on the staff of the Pesti Hirlap. The same year he brought out his first great novel, Pal lGyulay. He was elected a member of the revolutionary diet of 1848 and accompanied it through all its vicissitudes. After a brief exile he accepted the amnesty and returned to Hungary. Careless of his unpopularity, he took up his pen to defend the cause of justice and moderation, and in his two pamphlets, Forradalorn utan (After the Revolution) and M ég egysz 6 a forradaloni utan (One word more after the Revolution), he defended the point of view which was realized by Deak in 1867. He subsequently edited the Pesti Naplo, which became virtually Deak's political organ. Kemény also published several political essays (e.g. The Two Wesselényis, and Stephen Szechenyi) which are among the best of their kind in any literature. His novels published during these years, such as Férj és no (Husband and Wife), Szivorvényei (The Heart's Secrets), &c., also won for him a foremost rank among contemporary novelists. During the 'sixties Kemény took an active part in the political labours of Deak, whose right hand he continued to be, and popularized the Composition of 1867 which he had done so much to bring about. He was elected' to the diet of 1867 for one of the divisions of Pest, but took no part in the debates. The last years of his life were passed in complete seclusion in Transylvania. To the works of Kemény already mentioned should be added the fine historical novel Rajongok (The Fanatics) (Pest, 1858-1859), and Collected S peeches (Hung.) (Pest, 1889).

See L. Nogrady, Baron Si ismund Keméng/'s Life and Writings (Hung) (Budapest, 1902); G. Beksics, Sigisrnundlfernény, the Revolution and the Composition (Hung.) (Budapest, 1888).