Antal Szerb

Antal Szerb

Antal Szerb (May 1, 1901, Budapest - January 27, 1945, Balf) was a noted Hungarian scholar and writer. He is recognized as one of the major Hungarian literary personalities of the 20th century.

Life and work

Szerb was born in 1901 to assimilated Jewish parents in Budapest, but baptized Catholic. He studied Hungarian, German and later English, obtaining a doctorate in 1924. From 1924 to 1929 he lived in France and Italy, also spending a year in London, England.

As a student he published essays on Georg Trakl and Stefan George, and quickly established a formidable reputation as a scholar, writing erudite studies of William Blake and Henrik Ibsen among other works. Elected President of the Hungarian Literary Academy in 1933 - aged just 32 -, he published his first novel, "The Pendragon Legend" (which draws upon his personal experience of living in Britain) the following year. His second and best-known work, "Utas és holdvilág", known in English as "Journey by Moonlight", came out in 1937. He was made a Professor of Literature at the University of Szeged the same year. He was twice awarded the "Baumgarten Prize", in 1935 and 1937.

In 1941 he published a "History of World Literature" which continues to be authoritative today. He also published a volume on novel theory and a book about the history of Hungarian literature. Given numerous chances to escape antisemitic persecution (as late as 1944), he chose to remain in Hungary, where his last novel, a Pirandellian fantasy about a king staging a coup against himself, then having to impersonate himself, "Oliver VII", was published in 1942. It was passed off as a translation from the English, as no 'Jewish' work could have been printed at the time.

Szerb was deported to a concentration camp late in 1944, and was beaten to death there in January 1945. He was 43.

elected bibliography

*"Az angol irodalom kistükre", 1929 ("An Outline of English Literature")
*"Cynthia", 1932
*"A magyar irodalom története", 1934 ("History of Hungarian literature")
*"A Pendragon legenda", 1934
**tr.: "The Pendragon Legend", ISBN 1-901285-60-X, 2006
*"Szerelem a palackban", 1935 ("Love in the Bottle", short stories)
*"Budapesti útikalauz marslakók számára", 1935
**tr.: "A Martian's Guide to Budapest" (see [http://www.hungarianquarterly.com/no180/5.html a detail] )
*"Utas és holdvilág", 1937
**tr.: Journey by Moonlight, ISBN 1-901285-50-2
*"A világirodalom története", 1941 ("History of World Literature")
*"VII. Olivér", 1943 ("Oliver the VIIth", published under the pseudonym A.H. Redcliff)
**tr.: Oliver VII ISBN (13) 978 1 901285 90 1
*"A királyné nyaklánca", 1943 ("The Queen's Necklace")
*"Száz vers", 1943/1944 ("100 poems")

Translations

English
*"Journey by Moonlight
*"The Pendragon Legend 2006" ISBN 1-901285-60-X (another translation published 1963)
*"Oliver VII 2007" ISBN (13) 978 1 901285 90 1

Czech
*" Pendragonská prisera" 1946
*" Pendragonská legenda" 1985
*" Tyran" 1998

Dutch
*" Reis bij maanlicht" 2004 ISBN 978-90-5515-403-2
*" Reis bij maanlicht" 2005 Audiobook ISBN 978-90-7785-804-0
*" De Pendragon Legende" 2006 ISBN 978-90-5515-662-7

French
*"La légende de Pendragon" 1990 ISBN 2-7401-0000-0
*"Le voyageur et le clair de lune" 1992 ISBN 2-7401-0035-3

German
*"Die Pendragon-Legende" 1966 ISBN B0000BTJOF
*"Die Pendragon-Legende" 1978 ISBN 3-87680-773-5
*"Die Pendragon-Legende" 2004 ISBN 3-423-24425-9
*"Der Wanderer und der Mond" 1974
*"Reise im Mondlicht" 2003 ISBN 3-423-24370-8
*"Das Halsband der Königin" 2005 ISBN 3-423-13365-1
*"Marie Antoinette oder Die unbeglichene Schuld" (older translation of "Das Halsband der Königin") 1966 ISBN B0000BTJOE
*"Oliver VII" 1972 (published in East Germany)
*"Oliver VII" 2006 ISBN 3-423-13474-7
*"In der Bibliothek" (translation of "Szerelem a palackban") 2006 ISBN 3-423-24562-X

Italian
*"La leggenda di Pendragon" 1989
*"Il viaggiatore e il chiaro di luna" 1999

Polish
*"Legenda Pendragonow" 1971
*"Podróżny i światło księżyca" 1959

Slovak
*"Prázdny hrob" 1972

Slovenian
*"Legenda o Pendragon" 1980

Spanish
*"El collar de la reina" 1941
*"El viajero bajo el resplandor de la luna" 2000
*"La leyenda de los Pendragon" 2004

External links

* [http://www.pushkinpress.com PushkinPress.com] English editions of works by the author
* [http://www.hunlit.hu/szerbantal,en Hungarian book foundation database]
* [http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/magyar/szerba.htm review of "Journey by Moonlight" at complete-review.com]
* [http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/generalfiction/0%2C6121%2C528287%2C00.html "Guardian" Review of Journey by Moonlight]
* [http://books.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329506528-110738,00.html "Guardian" Review of The Pendragon Legend]
* [http://www.waggish.org/2003/02/journey_by_moonlight_antal_szerb.html Review of Journey by Moonlight]
* [http://www.hungarianquarterly.com/no167/2.html Essay by György Poszler in The Hungarian Quarterly autumn 2002]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20040228065015/http://www.hungary.com/hungq/no153/042.html A cached excerpt from "History of World Literature"]
* [http://www.lyrikwelt.de/autoren/szerb.htm a photo of the author at lyrikwelt.de]
* [http://www.pushkinpress.com/szerb-journey.html Journey By Moonlight from Pushkin Press]


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