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Books by Antal Szerb
Travelling to Italy on their honeymoon, Erszi and Mihaly are ready to take in all the beauties and pleasures of the country. But when they reach Venice, it is clear that Mihaly prefers to roam around the back alleys and the canals on his own, and as they continue their journey through the Bel Paese there is a growing sense of unrest between them, until Mihaly misses the train to Rome they were due to take together. Wandering alone from city to city, with his marriage rapidly falling apart, Mihaly must confront the ghosts of his past and try to find a sense of purpose.Originally written in 1937, and here presented in a brilliant new translation by Peter V. Czipott, Antal Szerb's gently humorous and psychologically subtle exploration into the workings of a budding bourgeois marriage has been hailed as one of the great rediscovered classics of the twentieth century.
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A major classic of 1930s literature, Antal Szerb's Journey by Moonlight (Utas es Holdvilag) 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 - ' Mihaly has dreamt of Italy all his life. When he finally travels there, on his honeymoon with Erszi, he soon abandon his new wife in order to find himself, haunted by old friends from his turbulent teenage days: beautiful, kind Tamas, brash and wicked Janos, and the sexless yet unforgettable Eva. Journeying from Venice to Ravenna, Florence and Rome, Mihaly 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 - knowing 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 scandalous adventure - Journey by Moonlight (Utas es Holdvilag) is an undoubted masterpiece of Modernist literature, a darkly comic novel - cut through by sex and death - that traces the effects of a socially and sexually claustrophobic world on the life of one man. Translated from the Hungarian by the renowned and award-winning Len Rix, Antal Szerb's Journey by Moonlight (first published as Utas es Holdvilag in Hungary in 1937) is the consummate European novel of the inter-war period. Published by Pushkin Press for the first time in a cloth-bound hardback edition beautifully designed by Nathan Burton.
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This selection of stories, set in mythical times and in 1920s and 1930s London and Paris, reflects Antal Szerb's love of life and irrepressible irony that has become his trademark: from Szerb's earliest stories, driven by his intense political and religious idealism, to his later work, marked by the sympathy and humour of "Journey by Moonlight" and "The Queen's Necklace."
- RRP £12.00
Hungarian Antal Szerb is best known in the West as the author of three extraordinary novels, most notably Journey by Moonlight (1937), and a highly entertaining study of the Ancient Regime in France: The Queen's Necklace (1942). This selection of his stories and novellas, set variously in mythical times and in the London and Paris of the twenties and thirties, reflects his love of life and the irrepressible irony that is his trademark.
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Anxious to please his bourgeois father, Mihaly has joined the family firm in Budapest. Pursued by nostalgia for his bohemian youth, he seeks escape in marriage to Erzsi, not realising that she has chosen him as a means to her own rebellion. On their honeymoon in Italy, Mihaly 'loses' his bride at a provincial station and embarks on a chaotic and bizarre journey that leads him finally to Rome. There all the death-haunted and erotic elements of his past converge, and he, like Erzsi, has finally to make a choice.
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With this wonderful set of books to treasure, Pushkin Press celebrates the very best work by the great Hungarian writer Antal Szerb (1901 - 1945). His sharp intelligence and sparkling wit are evident in everything he wrote, where the deepest meditations on the human condition are carried within darkly amusing tales. In this collection, Szerb's ideas about identity, history, art and society are shown to be as vitally important today as they were when first written.
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The ruler of an obscure Central European state plots a coup against himself and escapes to Venice in search of 'real' experience. Falling in with a team of con-men he ends up impersonating himself. His journey through successive levels of illusion and reality teaches him much about the world, about his own nature and the paradoxes of the human condition.
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When Mihaly finally succeeds in seducing Erzsi away from her first husband, he confidently takes her on honeymoon to Italy. Within days of their arrival, things start to fall apart: Mihaly is swept back to memories of his teenage years, 'loses' his bride at a provincial station and drifts away. Embarking on a chaotic and bizarre journey around Italy, the death-haunted and erotic elements of his past converge, and he, like Erzsi, has to choose his own fate. In this deeply moving and darkly funny masterpiece, Szerb explores questions of spirituality and selfhood that probe the very nature of bourgeois civilization.
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A typically brilliant, ironic and moving travelogue by one of the twentieth century's greatest writers In August 1936 a Hungarian writer in his mid-thirties arrives by train in Venice, on a journey overshadowed by the coming war and charged with intense personal nostalgia. Aware that he might never again visit this land whose sites and scenes had once exercised a strange and terrifying power over his imagination, he immerses himself in a stream of discoveries, reappraisals and inevitable self-revelations. From Venice, he traces the route taken by the Germanic invaders of old down to Ravenna, to stand, fulfilling a lifelong dream, before the sacred mosaics of San Vitale. This journey into his private past brings Antal Szerb firmly, and at times painfully, up against an explosive present, producing some memorable observations on the social wonders and existential horrors of Mussolini's new Roman Imperium. Antal Szerb was born in Budapest in 1901. Best known in the West as a novelist and short story writer, he was also a prolific scholar whose interests ranged widely across the whole field of European literature. Debarred from a university post by reason of his Jewish ancestry, he taught in a commercial secondary school until increasing persecution led to his brutal death in a labour camp, in 1945. Yet the tone of his writing is almost always deceptively light, the fierce intelligence softened by a gentle tolerance, wry humour and understated irony. Pushkin Press's publications of Szerb's work include his novels Journey by Moonlight, Oliver VII and The Pendragon Legend, as well as the short story collection Love in a Bottle and the history The Queen's Necklace.
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