Jenő Wallesz

Jenő Wallesz (1871-1943)

Journalist, novelist. He was born in Balassagyarmat on 22. September 1871, died in Budapest on 23. August 1943.

After finishing four classes in high school, he studied to be a locksmith; he was working as an educator for a while, then he became a journalist.  From 1894 he was a member of the editorial board of the journal called "Üstökös" (Comet), between 1898 and 1900 he was sub-editor to "Magyar Géniusz" (Hungarian Genius), later to "Új Század" (New Century) , then to "Népszava" (People's Voice, still one of the leading newspapers in Hungary), to "Pesti Napló" (Pest Diary). From 1910 he is an internal fellow, from 1927 until 1943 senior fellow of the journal "Az Újság" ("The Newspaper"). From 1908 until 1915 he works as a sub-editor of "A Hét" (The Week). He wrote some novels and a volume of poems was also published. 
He wrote his feuilletons and articles under the pseudonyms "Lynkeusz" and "Velszi Bárd" (Bard of Wales). 

 
His main works:

  • Memoirs of Pál Tenczer. (under the pseudonym "Tövis" - (Thorn) ), Budapest, 1896.
  • Merry Budapest (under the pseudonym "Velszi Bárd" - (Bard of Wales), Budapest, 1896.
  • Gloom - poems, Budapest, 1899.
  • Laments of a war-millionaire's wife - novel, Budapest, 1917.
  • Mistress of the party - novel, Budapest, 1918
  • White souls - novel, Budapest, 1928
  • The new man  - short story, Budapest, 1943.

   

"There are six men seek to advance on Verbena street to get to Nettle street. All of them are members of the parliament and their faces don't say anything bad.  They go two abreast and cling to each other, but still they go very far from one another. Passers go past them indifferently. Yet the people of the streets know them, know, what they are, but there is few in the heart of the people: they want to hurt the deputies, so they pretend that they don't know them.  But when they reach a few steps behind them, they stop and look back.  The deputies feel this and slow they steps, and let the people watch them more.  Sometimes they stop, gesticulate seriously which makes the admiration of the street higher. But glory still doesn't take long. Verbena street is barely five hundred steps long and  no matter how they extend the speak and no matter how long they look each other's eyes, a few minutes later they reach Nettle street, and from there just a few steps to the apartment of the President of the Party where they are invited for a pow-wow..." (Mistress of the Party, Foreword)

His wife, Gitta Gyenes (b. as Margit Gottlieb) was ceramist and painter, disciple of Béla Iványi-Grünwald. She was born in 1888 in Budapest, in a middle-class family. She studied at Budapest, in Nagybánya (today Baia Mare, Romania) on the famous artists' colony and in Rome.  She was an attractive and educated woman who was present at several exhibitions with her works, from porcellain painting, design to painting.  Her art deco style graphics and paintings created in the 1920's and 30's are  outstanding beauties, some of them belong to the Hungarian National Gallery.

  

There was a famous literary salon working in their apartment between the world wars (first at 2. Gyarmat st., and from 1936 on  74. Amerikai st.). Among the regulary visitors of the Gyarmat street apartment we have to mention the name of Frigyes Karinthy, Dezső Kosztolányi, Lajos Kassák, but first of all Atilla József between 1930—33.  At the 74 Amerikai st. apartment Gábor Goda, Józsi Jenő Tersánszky and György Faludy were the most frequent guests.  

On the summer of 1924 started the relationship of Gyenes Gitta to Attila József which was a more than friendship, less than a love affair. As Gitta Gyenes remembered they met on a bench of the Városliget (City Park) and after "five minutes" Attila "confessed his love" to her. She was a mature beauty, an attractive artist and after they met he was a daily guest on their apartment for about four years. Among the most prominent poems of Attila József he wrote to Gitta Gyenes te poems "It was summertime"  and  "Why did you leave me if you wish me".

Luca Wallesz, daughter of Gitta Gyenes became curious and more and more active player of the literary salon. Between Christmas of 1927 and 1928 Attila József wrote a whole series of beautiful poems  to Luca Wallesz who was 16-years-old then. Opening and one of the most famous piece of the Luca poem-cycle is "I bless You by sadness and happiness"  which  inspired many excellent musical adaptations.    

 

   

Jenő Wallesz and Gitta Gyenes rest in the Kozma street Jewish Cemetery in Budapest. (1A parc. 8. 18). 

 

Sources:

(Yechiel)

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