23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Zsolt Láng

Zsolt Láng was born in 1958 in Satu Mare, Romania, where he belongs to the Hungarian minority. He grew up bilingual and writes narrative literature, dramas and essays in Hungarian.  In 1984 he completed his studies in Engineering at the Technical University in Cluj-Kolozsvár and worked for the next five years as a teacher.  Since 1990 he has been working as editor of the literature magazine ‘Látó’ which comes out at regular intervals in Romania. Zsolt Láng’s debut novel, ‘Perényi szabadulása’, published in 1993, takes up an old Hungarian legend, the story of the Perényis family, which Láng re-interprets.

In 1994 ‘A Pálicakaember élete’ was published, a novel which, in miniature-like chapters, illuminates various spontaneous scenes in which the protagonist gets involved as quickly as he is able to re-emerge, baffled and in an ironic way so much the wiser.  This character is in type akin to those precocious and clumsy figures familiar to the reader of Christian Morgenstern’s satirical writings. Except that the anonymous hero, who through the goodness of his heart sets his own traps, is more poetical, far more dreamy than, say, Morgenstern’s Palmstrom. Whereas there the action is set in a narrow-minded world which proves to be Palmstrom’s downfall, we have here a mixture of pragmatic naivity and poetic wisdom.  Láng’s books are not attributed a self-ironic tone for nothing.

After countless single publications Zsolt Láng has, since 1997, been working on his trilogy ‘Bestiarium Transylvaniae’ in which all his earlier works are arranged to give a new meaning.  Among these are the early collections of short novels as well as a volume of essays published in 1995 in which the author takes social and contemporary topics to an abstract level and gives them a poetical setting.  Following the example of the romantic idea of universal poetry in which both the border between the individual genres and the border between individual works disappears, Zsolt Láng goes in search of complete literary oneness.  In the first volume of the trilogy Láng sets the story in the Transylvania of the 16th century, basing it on the legend of the ‘Bestiaria’, a collection of fearsome birds.  Taking up the thread of the encounter with these birds, Láng tells the story of the common love of two men for one woman, of the Mephisto-like Baron Sapre and his opponent, Friar Peter.  Linked with a chronicle of the conquest of Transsylvania and the religious conflict connected with it, the story unfolds in a setting that is far-reaching and mystical.  Throughout this work there is, therefore, the great contrast between unreal and logically real elements, between the purely fictitious and the concrete references in the essay-like sections.  The classical narrative method is interrupted elaborately and artistically by subtexts.

In 1999 his drama ‘A rúkmadár’ received its premier. His works have been translated into several languages.

© international literature festival berlin


Perényi szabadulása
JAK-Pesti Szalon
Budapest, 1993

Bestiárium Transsylvaniae. Az ég madarai
Jelokor, 1997

Strichmännchens Leben
Neumarkt a. M., 1999
Übersetzung: György Buda

A szomszéd nő
Kolozsvár, 2003

Kolozsvár, 2004

Kolozsvár, 2005

Kovács Emma születése és más elbeszélések
Kolozsvár, 2006

Télikert. Házi játék három felvonásban.
Bemutató: Gyergyószentmiklósi Figura
Színház, 2006

Übersetzer: György Buda, Tobias Burghardt