Ferenc Molnár (born Ferenc Neumann, 12 January 1878 – 1 April 1952, anglicized as Franz Molnar) was a Hungarian-born author, stage-director, dramatist, and poet, widely regarded as Hungary’s most celebrated and controversial playwrights. His primary aim through his writing was to entertain by transforming his personal experiences into literary works of art. He was never connected to any one literary movement but he did utilize the precepts of Naturalism, Neo-Romanticism, Expressionism, and the Freudian psychoanalytical concepts, but only as long as they suited his desires. “By fusing the realistic narrative and stage tradition of Hungary with Western influences into a cosmopolitan amalgam, Molnár emerged as a versatile artist whose style was uniquely his own.” As a novelist, Molnár may best be remembered for The Paul Street Boys, the story of two rival gangs of youths in Budapest. It has been translated into fourteen languages and adapted for the stage and film. It has been considered a masterpiece by many. It was, however, as a playwright that he made his greatest contribution and how he is best known internationally. "In his graceful, whimsical, sophisticated drawing-room comedies, he provided a felicitous synthesis of Naturalism and fantasy, Realism and Romanticism, cynicism and sentimentality, the profane and the sublime." Out of his many plays, The Devil, Liliom, The Swan, The Guardsman and The Play's the Thing endure as classics. He was influenced by the likes of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and Gerhart Hauptmann. He immigrated to the United States to escape persecution of Hungarian Jews during World War II and later adopted American citizenship. Molnár’s plays continue to be relevant and are performed all over the world. His national and international fame has inspired many Hungarian playwrights to include Elemér Boross, László Fodor, Lajos Biró, László Bús-Fekete, Ernö Vajda, Attila Orbók, and Imre Földes, among others.
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