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He was born in Budapest on June 2, and died in the same city on July 18, Szentkuthy's works include numerous novels, essays, translations, and a voluminous diary spanning the years — As the author of masterpieces such as Prae , the epic volume St. Szentkuthy composed an oeuvre both imposing and complex, centered on the conflict between art and life, or the aspiration for holiness and eroticism.

For the experimental side and erudite aspect of his work, he is sometimes compared to the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. However, in My Career , Szentkuthy stated that he "never, in any shape or form, considered Prae to be a work that belonged to an avant-garde.

For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing it! Szentkuthy was only 26 when he published his debut novel Prae , which he intended to be a panoramic description of European culture of the twenties.

Containing little plot or dialogue, the novel consists mostly of philosophical reflections and descriptions of modern interiors. One of the formal innovations of Prae lies in the fragmentary structure of the text. The novel consists of numerous reflections, descriptions, and scenes that are only loosely connected.

While in the novel was received with indifference, today it is recognised as the first fully modernist Hungarian novel. Szentkuthy's second book, Towards the One and Only Metaphor , is a collection of short diary-like epigrams and reflections; it was intended as a literary experiment to follow the thinking self through the most delicate thoughts and impressions without imposing any direction on it. After Chapter on Love , Szentkuthy developed an outline for his St. Orpheus's Breviary , a grandiose cycle of historical novels.

Drawing on the tradition of great encyclopaedic narratives such as Balzac's The Human Comedy and Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle, Szentkuthy aimed at depicting the totality of two thousand years of European culture. While there are clear parallels between this monumental work and Huysmans, Musil, and Robert Burton, and in ways it is parodic of St. Literally enchanted by the effectiveness of this method — 'where, in his words, every epithet puts imagination in motion' — he decided to apply it on the spot to Casanova, which he had just annotated with gusto a German edition in six large volumes.

In the period —, due to Communist rule in Hungary, Szentkuthy could not continue Orpheus. In Szentkuthy resumed the Orpheus cycle. Publication of the seventh volume, The Second Life of Sylvester II , turned out to be a success and marked the beginning of Szentkuthy's renaissance. His translation of Joyce's Ulysses and the second edition of Prae was followed by the re-edition of his early works, which brought him widespread recognition in some European countries.

Thereafter he wrote two more parts of the Orpheus cycle, Canonized Desperation , and Bloody Donkey Szentkuthy died in , leaving the final part of Orpheus unfinished. Some fragments of it were published posthumously as In the Footsteps of Eurydice In the twenty-first century, Szentkuthy is generally acknowledged as one of the major innovative Hungarian novelists of the 20th century.

At the same time, Szentkuthy's oeuvre remains largely unknown to the wider English-speaking public, though a recent English translation and laudatory reviews in the Guardian , [1] the Los Angeles Review of Books , [2] and Tropes of Tenth Street [3] have considerably remedied that. Additionally, in December , Szentkuthy's Marginalia on Casanova was chosen by Nicholas Lezard of The Guardian as one of the best books of the year. Fekete, P.

T and two doctoral theses devoted to his works, he is one of the most under-researched Hungarian writers, but some critics in France and elsewhere regard him to be as significant as Marcel Proust. The first part of the diary s— will be open to researchers in , the 25th anniversary of his death, and the second part — in Szentkuthy professed that the diary is his 'real' work, hence the opening of it should prove illuminating.

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