Petőfi Museum of Literature

and Centre for Contemporary Literature


H-1053 Budapest, Károlyi Mihály utca 16.

Telephone: 266 25 00, 266 25 11, Fax: 266 24 85




Literature Databanks and Collections of Texts



The Institutions of Hungarian Literature


The continuously expanding database gives an overall picture of the most important data (date of foundation, type, head or editor, address, etc. of the organisation or media) of Hungarian publishing houses, cultural organisations, foundations and publications. Furthermore, it gives an account of all the awards that have been founded after 1945 (literary, arts and scientific), their legal background, the name of their donor, the sum awarded, and it also indicates who and when received each acknowledgement. This database is being developed as part of the Databank of the Contemporary Hungarian Literature, which beside the institutional system includes the main data of the authors and their works.




Hungarian Biographical Index

This database has been continuously expanded since 1996. It contains data about Hungarian reference books and other sources of information in which an entry or an essential biographical date can be found about a particular Hungarian person. The personal files include the following data: accepted name; name variant (the name before changing it, the date of the change, married name); maiden name; rank and title of nobility; data of birth and death (city, county, year, month, day); occupation (at least three, including the one done for a living); revealed sources (with codes). We indicate, based on reliable background databases, if in the above mentioned sources the publication includes inaccurate data concerning the most important data series (birth and death). If any of the data series is missing from the reference books, we shall supplement it and also indicate if the given person passed away in the meantime. At present the database includes information from nearly 400 sources on about forty-two thousand people.


Databank for Hungarian Emigrant Literature


This database, which is the result of about eighteen year’s research, includes the biographical data of about 6200 Hungarian born writers, journalists and social scientists. It shows the data of their higher education, the date of leaving the country, the names of the receiving country(s), the stages of their scientific or public carrier, the awards won, the names of all organisations that elected the given person among their members, the publication sources and the pen-names used in them, and all the works published in book form which were written or edited by the person in question. To the biographies rich bibliographies are attached. In addition, the database includes the bibliography of publications (2200 entries), the data of the more significant cultural organisations and associations founded by Hungarian emigrants. The database is to be published in 1999.



Reception Databank


This databank continuously monitors and processes the foreign reception (so far in German speaking countries) of Hungarian literature, and makes them available for experts. Its basis is the Hungarian-related collection within the documentation of the Literaturhaus Osteuropa in Vienna. The literary material includes approximately 1000 Hungarian-related entries published between 1989 and 1997, which were collected from more than fifty German language dailies and weeklies. The manually processed material was digitised in 1998. As a result of this, we not only provide many and various opportunities for research, but also make the digitised texts of the original articles available for anyone who is interested. The collection of the works was continued in 1998: we made contacts with more than seventy German, Austrian and Swiss publishing houses who publish Hungarian works, and asked for supplementary material to make the Databank complete. At present the database contains the reviews of the Hungarian books published in translation in German speaking countries between 1989 and 1998, literature and other writings by Hungarian authors published in German language journals, and also the interviews made with Hungarian authors. In addition to continuing the collection in German speaking countries we plan to expand the Databank by processing the reviews of Hungarian works published in other countries.


Digital Academy of Literature


The Academy started to operate in July 1998 with the support of the National Cultural Fund. Its main objective is to process and digitise the contemporary Hungarian writers’ and poets’ complete published life-work in the form of an anthology in unified format, and to make them available on the Internet supplemented with the authors’ biography, the bibliography of their works and the literature on them. At its birth those living writers and poets who had been awarded the Kossuth prize or the Laurel Wreath became its members. From that time on the writers annually elect one new and five posthumous members. At the moment 47 life-works are being processed, and this year two or three volumes by each author are expected to be read and researched. Our goal is to put the source materials on the Internet in such a way that the data be accessed in several forms. Thus we provide an opportunity for all researchers and those interested in literature to make a comprehensive search and from as many approaches as possible. According to our plans by 31st December 2000 the number of the works to be digitised will have been about 10 000 author’s sheet. Within the program of the Digital Academy of Literature the members receive lifelong allowances for publishing their works, free Internet access, newspaper and literary journal subscriptions, provided that the necessary financial sources are available. In addition, an artist selected by them shall paint their portraits.


Imre Madách, The Tragedy of Man (CD-R)

in 20 languages and 25 translations


The CD contains the most internationally well-known work of 19th century Hungarian literature, Imre Madach’s dramatic poem in various languages. The translations may be read on the screen side by side, therefore they are easy to compare with each other and the Hungarian original. Among the translations this is the first time it has been translated into Yiddish and Galician, as books these will be published later. The CD includes the complete version of The Tragedy of Man in the following languages: Hungarian, English (4 translations), German (2 translations), French (2 translations), Slovak (2 translations), Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Esperanto, Romani, Finnish, Dutch, Yiddish, Catalan, Romanian, Swedish, Galician, Polish, Russian and Bulgarian. The shell of the database is of two languages: at the start English or Hungarian can be selected. The CD will not be available for retail; we shall forward its copies to the great libraries and collections of the world, as well as to researchers, translators and theatre directors.