Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

After Ferenc Molnár achieved recognition as a playwright, only half-hearted attention was given to his accomplishments in other genres; nevertheless, he produced a respectable body of work in areas outside drama. Molnár always considered himself a journalist, and he achieved distinction in both the Hungarian and the international press. With his many volumes of collected editorials, sketches, feuilletons, and satires, he emerged as a faithful chronicler of life in Budapest and left an indelible mark on Hungarian short prose. As a journalist, he valued keen observation, precise description, and wit. His urbane, vibrant, meticulously constructed short stories reveal a remarkable narrative ability in his realistic characterization, his control of plot and technique, and his consummate skill with dialogue. Molnár also wrote a number of novels that were widely popular at the time of their publication. Although they are characterized by brilliant style, cleverly calculated plots, and sensitively drawn characters, their range is rather narrow. While most of these autobiographical novels are perhaps merely interesting period pieces, A Pál-utcai fiúk (1907; The Paul Street Boys, 1927), a moving tale about youth, is regarded as a masterpiece. Molnár completed his nostalgic autobiography, Utitárs a számzetésben (1958; Companion in Exile: Notes for an Autobiography, 1950), in the United States. This loosely constructed work provides rare glimpses into his rich, colorful life.