János Kemény (author)

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The native form of this personal name is Kemény János. This article uses the Western name order when mentioning individuals.

Baron Kemény János (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 5, 1903 – Târgu Mureş, October 13, 1971) was a Hungarian writer, theater director, a dramatist, the founder of the Marosvécs/Brâncoveneşti Helikon community.


János Kemény's mother, the actress Ida Berenice Mitchell (1871-1956), lost her husband, István Kemény, shortly after János was born and could not afford to support her four children. She therefore moved from the United States to her grandfather's house in Transylvania in 1904. János attended the Reformed College (denominational high school) in Kolozsvár/Cluj (now Cluj-Napoca, and then enrolled in the fall of 1921 at the College of Land Cultivation in Vienna. He was married in 1923 to the Scotswoman Augusta Paton, daughter of William Roger Paton, and they had six children.

In 1926, János Kemény and Aladár Kuncz organized a literary conference of Transylvanian Hungarians at Kemény's estate in Brâncoveneşti, Mureş (Marosvécs) County. The conference led to the formation of the Helikon community, which from 1928 published the influential Hungarian literary periodical Erdélyi Helikon. In 1930, Kemény was awarded the Corvina Wreath by the Hungarian government.[1] decoration.

For ten years from 1931, he headed the Hungarian Thália Theater in Cluj (Kolozsvár)and also published literary work. Then from 1945 to 1952 he was among the founding organizers of the Székely theatre in Târgu Mureş (Marosvásárhely). However, he was obliged to do manual work in the communist period, before later finding a job in the library of Târgu Mureş (Marosvásárhely) art college and working on the Hungarian-language magazine Új élet in the same city. A succession of his works appeared between 1957 and his death in 1971, but he only managed to complete one volume of a planned multi-volume autobiography.

Works (selection)[edit]

  • His first writing "Emlékezetem" (Cluj, 1921) (My memories)
  • Kutyakomédia (Cluj, 1934) (Poor comedy)


  1. ^ List of persons who were decorated with the Corvin decoration

External links[edit]