Dezső Kosztolányi, the self-styled homo estheticus, was one of the great men of Hungarian letters in the first half of the twentieth century. Little of his poetry has been translated because of its technical ingenuity, but anything by him is ipso facto worthy of attention.
"Three Men on Love" was an evening devoted to a discussion between poets Ádám Nádasdy, Christopher Whyte and András Gerevich as part of the Europoetica Festival, held in Budapest in April 2008. The three poets talked about love and issues of literary creation in relation to homosexuality.
In this latest addition to the series of interviews on our sister website Litera, Tim Wilkinson looks back on his career as a literary translator while also discussing his personal dreams and revealing which works have offered the greatest challenges, yet still proved to be the most rewarding.
In Géza Ottlik’s sparse oeuvre the posthumously published "novel" Buda claims a most special place. Appearing three years after the author’s death, Buda was not quite the long-awaited sequel to School at the Frontier (1959), his only other novel, considered by many as his major work. Yet Buda, fragmentary as it stands, is far more than a sequel. Buda stands free, an arbor vitae, Ottlik’s true monument.
"My name is Alina Moldova.I come from Eastern Europe (...) I have amalgam fillings in my teeth,in my heart I carry an inherited dread.When I speak English, no one understands me,when I speak French, no one understands me,It is only the language of fearthat I speak without an accent."
The recent publication of Sándor Márai’s novella, Esther’s Inheritance, provides not only a new addition to a steadily growing list of Márai works available in English, but also raises a series of provocative questions in a debate that has occupied critics since the unprecedented international success of the author’s novel, Embers, in 2000.
There are poets who are moved to write by the radio waves of language. Others simply look – they look until they see that what they see is not what they see. It is not a pipe, it is not a rose, it is not a bouquet of tulips. Until that certain "watermark" appears, "from which we may state that behind the startled and mundane actualities something must be standing in complete motionlessness."
As we contemplated Jack London’s birthday on January 12th, we were curious to know the reading tastes of Hungarian young people. We discussed opposition between classic and contemporary youth fiction in Hungary. What is most popular among them today? Is it the rewritten classics, the trendy vampire stories or the favorites of their parents’ generation?
”It irritates me more than anything when the translator takes upon herself or himself to redress a political imbalance by mangling a perfectly open text just to show that they are not simply co-opting it.” – Poet-translator George Szirtes answers questions by HLO’s brother site, Litera, as part of a series of interviews with translators.
A new book by Márai has come out in English. Esther’s Inheritance (1939), the fourth novel by the ”bard of the Hungarian middle class” in English, after Embers, Casanova in Bolzano and The Rebels, was published by Picador in Britain and Knopf in the States, in the translation of George Szirtes.
"In the beginning, there was Boredom. And thus sayeth the Lord: Let there be Amusement, for I’m beginning to doze off. And He came up with the idea of a bunch of little globes; He knocked them together for a while, back and forth. He entertained Himself that way for six days. On the sixth day He gave a great big yawn, and almost fell asleep again. And then, quickly, He came up with the idea of the human being."