In advance of Imre Kertész’s first public appearance in Great Britain on 5 March at the Jewish Book Week, it seemed worth gathering together a handful of references that he has made to the English in various published works. This is mostly because they carry an amusingly equivocal edge, but they also highlight a few of the difficult choices translators sometimes face.
"I wanted to know who, why and how was involved in ruining the first half of my life." - Poet Zsófia Balla moved from Romania to Hungary shortly after the regime change in 1989. We asked her about her decision to request the surveillance file by the Romanian Secret Service (the Securitate) targeting her during communism.
"Silver full moon at midday / is the sun, a mere faint presence in the heavens." – Miniature portraits of the months of the year, written mostly after the outbreak of World War II in which the poet was eventually killed. Idyllic sketches, with threatening overtones creeping in.
Halász' theatre was a non-imitational one. He never wanted, nor was he able, to pretend that he is someone else but himself. His theatre was born out of an inner freedom, not hard work, not something that can be regulated, rehearsed and repeated.