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The first time I ve heard about Antal

SZERB WAS NO THAN TWO MONTHS 
was no than two months Since then I managed to put my hands onto all the novels by Szerb translated into English whose number euals To ThreeI Had The Luck To Make threeI had the luck to make good catch while visiting an Oxfam charity shop in lovely Bath UK Bless the ind reader who donated Szerb s novels to Oxfam Journey by Moonlight Utas s holdvil g published in 1937 is widely considered as Szerb s masterpiece but I must confess that I liked The Pendragon Legend his first novel a hint Nevertheless this novel came very close to the intellectual pleasure I felt while reading Szerb s previous work and is considered a milestone of Hungarian literatureAntal Szerb had the rare talent to combine serious and farcical elements into his novels What we have into this one is a post wedding personality crisis of a Hungarian man Mihaly who is still tied to his adolescence prone to womanising and cannot really cope with the social and moral responsabilities brought by adulthoodFrom the very first sentence of the book we now that something odd is going to happen to Mihaly He s travelling through Italy on honeymoon with his newly wed wife Erszi a pretty but rather boring socialite whom he took away from her previous wealthy husband out of an extramarital fling Unlike his wife it s the first time that Mihaly visits Italy and he s deeply fascinated by the country due to its glorious past rather than because of what he sees around him To Mihaly Italy means first and foremost Goethe the Renaissance and the Ancient Romans deeds in a dramatic and sentimental manner that brought to my mind Peter Camenzind by Herman Hesse But whereas Hesse really meant what he wrote writing his idyllic postcards from a non existent Italy with an involuntary comic effect Szerb is able to cast some clever observations on Italy in the 1930s between the lines thus stressing out the absurdity of Mihaly s behaviour in being tied to a Grand Tour shaped pastArt food sensual pleasures and architecture aside what Mihaly really pines for is wondering and wandering around the alleyways of Venice the hills of Tuscany and the forests of Umbria preferably by night and in a state of self indulged introspective stupor which leads him to take impulsive and absurd decisionsErszi is rather tolerant of her husband s recurring oddities but all the same she doesn t care a bit to catch him when Mihaly unaware and aware at the same time leaves her behind by boarding a wrong train From this point on Szerb focuses on Mihaly s identity crisis and the interesting people and the former acuaintances he meets through his Italian adventure Some of these encounters happen by chance some others not but all leave a mark in Mihaly s to. A major classic of 1930s literature Antal Szerb's Journey by Moonlight Utas és Holdvilág is the fantastically moving and darkly funny story of a bourgeois businessman torn between duty and desire'On the train everything seemed fine The trouble began in Venice 'Mihály has dreamt of Italy all his life When he finally travels there on his honeymoon with wife Erszi he soon abandon her in order to find himself haunted by old friends from his turbulent teenage days beau. ,
Utas és holdvilágRmented story The author shows us *a man who rebelled against a petty bourgeois life but poor Mihaly doesn t uite now *man who rebelled against a petty bourgeois life but poor Mihaly doesn t uite now led him to rebel and what he s inclined to pursuit and how By writing so Szerb tells Us About The Protagonist S Personal Defeat about the protagonist s personal defeat evokes the topic of suicide which is a taboo much dear to his fellow HungariansAnd yet don t look at Journey by Moonlight as your dark and depressing novel spiralling downwards to the abyss of human nihilism as Szerb s peculiarity and ability is that he always new how to cheer you up with a touch of lightness Go and read yourselves Over the last few years I ve had a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from books set in and around Eastern Europe I was inspired to seek interesting Eastern European books and so it was that I came across Journey by MoonlightAt the time of writing the most liked review of Journey by Moonlight on GoodReads and the third most liked review were from readers who were unable to finish this book That concerned me I do not generally have much patience with difficult books I adore beautiful atmospheric writing but not at the expense of clarity When I noticed the phrase modernist masterpiece in amongst some praise for the book I was even apprehensive So I am pleased and relieved to report that Journey by Moonlight is both easy to read and enjoyable and this English translation by Len Rix from the original Hungarian is beautifulJourney by Moonlight is concerned with that hoary old chestnut life what s it all about The uestion is explored through the central character Mih ly a dreamy Distracted Person Who Has Drifted person who has drifted the family business and a life of compromised bourgeois tedium and respectability and which is at odds with his bohemian past Whilst on his honeymoon Mih ly has a crisis which sees him looking back on his past and considering the best way to live his lifeJourney by Moonlight is a wonderfully subtle surprising and original book Whilst I have some sympathy with those readers who might have got exasperated with it I can assure you that perseverance pays rich dividends Beautifully written unpredictable playful intelligent and uietly profound and it got progressively interesting and beguiling By around the halfway point I was captivated and each time I put it down I couldn t wait to pick it back up againSo who was Antal Szerb According to Pushkin Press who published this English edition of this book in 2001 Antal Szerb 1901 1945 was a writer scholar critic and translator born to Jewish parents but baptised Catholic Multilingual he lived in Hungary France Italy and England and after graduating in German and English he rapidly established himself as a prolific scholar publishing books on drama and poetry. Tiful Nobody Likes You kind Tamas brash and wicked Janos and the sexless yet unforgettable Eva Journeying from Venice to Ravenna Florence and Rome Mihály loses himself in Venetian back alleys and in the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside driven by an irresistible desire to resurrect his lost youth among Hungary's Bright Young Things andnowing that he must soon decide whether to return to the ambiguous promise of a placid adult life or allow himself to be seduced into a life of scandal.

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Studies of Ibsen and Blake and histories of English and Hungarian literature At the age of 39 Szerb wrote an authoritative History of World Literature He wrote his first novel The Pendragon Legend in 1934 followed by Journey by Moonlight in 1937 and The ueen s Necklace in 1943 These and a collection of his short stories Love in a Bottle are also published in English by Pushkin Press Szerb was illed in a concentration camp in January 1945At the end of the Pushkin Press edition in Len Rix s translator s note he mentions that this is the book that all Hungarians read as students which reinforces one of my burgeoning beliefs Hungarians have got great taste55 For example Seven Terrors by Selvedin Avdi The Trigger Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War by Tim Butcher Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig Dostoevsky Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Between the Woods and the Water A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor I recommend them all First of all let me tell you as a Hungarian who read the novel both in Hungarian and in English that the translation is simply brilliant Len Rix did full credit to the original text and Antal Szerb s genius So praising the translation to the skies was the easy part The hard part is why I love this book so muchThere are people who like entertaining the idea that they are simply not of this world The main character Mih ly certainly likes to think of himself as such a person In his youth he belonged to a very select gang of intellectuals pushing things to the limit of morality and beyond playing weird games sometimes endangering their own lives He thinks of himself as the Great Outsider who still has the insight into life s mysteries that is denied to ordinary mortals During the expos of his past and his present and his almost picaresue journey the author first leads the readers to the expos of his past and his present and his almost picaresue journey the author first leads the readers to it is so just to rap both us and the MC on the nose sharply and prove that it s nothing of the sort Mih ly is just like a rest of us thinking of his own inner dramas as something momentous disparaging other people and in the meantime totally misjudging them like he does his own wife He is mercilessly mocked and yet deeply understood accepted by the author And that is what makes Antal Szerb such wonderful writer you truly believe he has The Insight into the human mind heart soul I think the novel is essentially a comedy yet it balances on the precarious precipice of the tragic where you think it will eventually fall but Antal Szerb handles the narrative wonderfully and never loses the balance or the focus Antal
SZERB MANAGES WITH HIS NOVEL YOLCU 
manages with his novel Yolcu Ayisigi to set a deep regressive element the unfulfilled dreams of youth which shape the life of every. Ous adventure Journey by Moonlight Utas és Holdvilág is an undoubted masterpiece of Modernist literature a darkly comic novel cut through by sex and death which traces the effects of a socially and sexually claustrophobic world on the life of one manTranslated from the Hungarian by the renowned and award winning Len Rix Antal Szerb's Journey by Moonlight first published as Utas és Holdvilág in Hungary in 1937 is the consummate European novel of the inter war peri. .