Literary historian and translator Endre Bojtar, one of many distinguished intellectuals who took part in the founding of Central European University, passed away Feb. 11. An early advocate along with Peter Hanak of the idea of a common Central European heritage, Bojtar participated in discussions in Dubrovnik about founding an educational institution that would strengthen the cohesion of the region. Those discussions resulted in the establishment of CEU in 1991.
Bojtar, a longtime friend of CEU Founder and Honorary Chairman George Soros, headed CEU’s Comparative Literature program from 1991-1994, and served on the Board of Trustees of Central European University Foundation of Budapest.
"Endre Bojtar contributed his vision of a cohesive Central European region to the founding of CEU, and this vision continues to guide the University," said President and Rector Michael Ignatieff. "We commend Bojtar's lifelong support of CEU and his achievements in chronicling Central European literary history, including translations among a diverse range of languages, contributing to a common understanding."
A member of the Institute of Literary Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences from 1963 until his retirement in 2010, Bojtar published 12 books and countless articles and translations from Slavic and Baltic languages, plus French, German, and English. His main scholarly heritage is the history of the Baltic states in a Central-European context published as "Foreword to the Past," with CEU Press in 2000.
He was the founding editor of the monthly literary and cultural journal "2000"; today including in its editorial board Professor Balazs Trencsenyi, head of CEU's Department of History.
Bojtar won the prestigious Jozsef Attila Prize for literature in 2006 and the Szechenyi Prize for academic achievement in 2010. He was also awarded the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic, Officer's Cross.
Portrait by Marton Kallai