Karinthy is a contemporary author. To put it in a laconic and slightly simplified way, Karinthy created Budapest’s sense of humour, created the absurd and the grotesque. He recognised the eccentric in metropolitan man, and, following the lead of one of his role models, Swift’s Gulliver, highlighted the Chaplinesque minor characters of this ever more technical world.
Péter Zilahy’s The Last Window-Giraffe, a picture-book that is modelled on a children’s dictionary and describes the world of the Eastern bloc in the 70s and the 80s and the demonstrations in Belgrade in 1996-97, has been published in English by Anthem Press in a translation by Tim Wilkinson.
Béla Zsolt was one of the great eroticists of politics who channel their libido and even all their madness into social struggle. A characteristic anecdote is that he was newly married when he woke up in the morning and declared in a firm and defiant tone to his somewhat startled wife: “Bethlen’s regime must be overthrown.”
Corvina Publishing House in Budapest has spent decades in the business of conveying classic and modern Hungarian literature to foreigners. The director of the publishing house talks about the chances of Hungarian books finding their way to an audience outside Hungary.