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Hungarian Literary Authors Inspired by Lake Balaton


Lake Balaton is not only a haven for relaxation and vacation – it also serves as an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the creative mind. Lake Balaton played an important role in the life and works of numerous iconic figures of the Hungarian literary scene, and several TV and cinema hits were also shot here.

The life and art of Sándor Kisfaludy had roots running deep in the Balaton Uplands. The renowned poet and soldier was born in Sümeg, and his life of adventures also ended there. His works are abundant in references to the lake. His poems of the local castle ruins and hills: the Somló, Tátika or Csobánc are especially outstanding. Kisfaludy found love with his future wife, Róza Szegedy, during a grape harvest in Badacsony. She would turn him down at first, but his perseverance resulted in a happy marriage that would last for over thirty years.  


Beyond the popular Kisfaludy Beach in Balatonfüred, the region’s iconic poet is also the namesake of several restaurants, a lookout tower and a memorial house around Lake Balaton; the first steamboat in service on the Balaton was also named after him. 

Mór Jókai, an extremely prolific literary writer and hero of the 1848–1849 Hungarian War of Independence, and his wife Róza Laborfalvy, were so charmed by the beauty of the landscape and the atmosphere of the Balatonfüred baths during a visit that they decided to have a villa built here. Today the villa is open to visitors. Jókai firmly believed that the lake infused him with inspiration for writing.

One of his best‑known novels The Man with the Golden Touch (“Aranyember”) also takes place around Lake Balaton. Rather than the cheerful summer days of leisure by the lake, the scenic descriptions of the romantic novel capture the mystical and eerie atmosphere around the lake during the autumn and winter. Considered the first Hungarian widescreen film, the 1962 cinema adaptation of the novel was also an enormous box‑office hit.

A century later, Lake Balaton emerged as a significant source of inspiration for poet Lőrinc Szabó, who has probably written the largest number of poems about the lake. Although he would find time to have fun time to time, his primary purpose for visiting the lake was to work and create. Although a married man, he had many a secret rendezvous, mostly in Balatonföldvár, with Mrs. Erzsébet Vékes Korzátiné, a Keszthely‑born psychologist. The poet, known for his meticulousness as well as his clandestine adventures, spent much time in Balatonfüred, but his affection ran deepest towards Tihany, where he would spend his final years creating. 

Poet Ágnes Nemes‑Nagy was a frequent guest of the Szigliget Creative House. The tranquillity of the artists’ retreat in the small village of the Balaton Uplands provided the perfect setting for contemplation, while the land around served as an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Szigliget inspired Ágnes Nemes‑Nagy’s poem Paradicsomkert (“The Garden of Eden”), while in her poem Balaton the lake appears as a mythical, ancient marsh.

Lake Balaton is not only a place for creative people to have some well‑earned rest: it has also been the birthplace of literary pieces that immortalise the timeless beauty of the lake and the region.


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