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Frigyes Karinthy

(1887 - 1938)

Frigyes Karinthy was a versatile Hungarian writer, playwright, poet, journalist, and translator known for his humour, satire, and keen critical eye. Born in Budapest, he established himself as a key figure in the burgeoning Hungarian literary scene. His broad educational background, including studies at the Budapest University of Technology and the Franz Joseph University, underpinned his extensive knowledge, which he deftly employed in his writing.

Karinthy's work spans a wide array of genres, reflecting the diversity of his intellectual pursuits. He is celebrated for his short stories, novels, poems, and theatre plays, often tackling contemporary issues with a blend of sharp wit and deep philosophical questioning. Karinthy maintained a unique ability to balance lighthearted humour with incisive social commentaries.

One of his best-known contributions to science fiction is the concept of the "chain-link" of acquaintances, also known as "six degrees of separation," which he introduced in his 1929 short story "Chains" ("Láncszemek"). This concept has since become a staple in understanding social networks and inspired the eponymous play and film.

Karinthy's legacy is also marked by his translations, including the works of H.G. Wells and Jonathan Swift, which made significant literary contributions accessible to the Hungarian audience. Despite his untimely death due to a brain tumour, Karinthy's varied and influential body of work endures, securing his status as an iconic figure in twentieth-century Hungarian literature.

Short Stories member since July 2019