Archive for April 25, 2015

My Hungarian Könyvespolc (Bookshelf)

April 25, 2015 47 comments

As mentioned in my entry about my literary escapade in Budapest, I gathered some names while traveling. There’s a great list of Hungarian writers on Wikipedia; my list isn’t here to compete with what Wikipedia can provide.  It’s a personal list, a reminder of the names that caught my eyes.

I visited Mór Jókai’s residence in Balatonfüred where I learnt he was the most famous Hungarian writer of the 19th century.



As I’d never heard of him, I had to check him out later on. Only Rêve et vie is available in French but he did write a lot of novels. I wonder why they aren’t translated.

I’ve also visited the Petőfi Sándor museum. Sándor Petőfi (1823-1849) was something like the Hungarian Lermontov (1814-1841). Both were poets, died young and were in the military. Sándor Petőfi was a renowned poet and only 26 when he disappeared during the war following the Hungarian revolution of 1848. He’s considered as Hungary’s national poet. I’m curious about his poetry –although he’s a Romantic—but I wonder how Hungarian poetry can be successfully translated into French without losing too much.

Of course, I spent some time in a bookstore and came back with books:


I’m looking forward to read them, especially Colours and Years because it’s written by a woman. Apart from these, my TBR of Hungarian literature consists of a few other novels:

  • Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb
  • Oliver VII by Antal Szerb
  • Epépé by Férenc Kárinthy
  • N.N. by Gyula Krúdy that I intend to read with Passage à l’Est in July
  • Fateless by Imre Kertész that I’ll read in September with Caroline

I know I should read The Door by Magda Szabó and Satantango by László Krasznahorkai but every time I’ve had them in hand in a bookstore, I’ve put them down. Dark and daunting. I’m not sure they’re for me. I’d rather read Journey Around My Skull by Frigyes Kárinthy.

Here’s a list of writers I want to explore, the problem is time, time, time…

Writer   In English In French
Endre Ady 1877-1919 Neighbours of the Night. Selected Short Stories
Iván Bächer 1957-2013 Magyar Menu
Miklos Banffy 1973-1950 The Transilvania Trilogy La Trilogie de Transylvanie
Adam Biro Two Jews on a Train: Stories from the Old Country and the New.One Must Also Be Hungarian Deux Juifs voyagent dans un train
Peter Esterházy 1950- The Glance of Countess Hahn-Hahn (down the Danube)Celestial HarmoniesShe Loves Me L’œillade de la comtesse Hahn-HahnHarmonia cælestisUne femme
Géza Gardonyi 1963-1922 Eclipse of the Crescent Moon
Mór Jókai 1825-1904 The Man With The Golden Touch Rêve et vie
Margit Kaffka 1880-1918 Colours and Years. A Novel Couleurs et années
Győrgy Konrád 1933- The Case Worker Départ et retour
Endre Kukorelly 1951- Je flânerai un peu moins
Gyula Krúdy 1878-1933 The Charmed Life of Kázmér RezedaThe Adventures of Sinbad N.N.
André Lorant Le perroquet de Budapest : une enfance revisitée
Kálmán Mikszáth 1847-1910 St Peter’s Umbrella. A Novel Le parapluie de Saint Pierre
Ferenc Mólnar 1878-1952 The Paul Street Boys Les gens de la rue Paul (jeunesse)Liliom ou la vie et la mort d’un vaurien pour le moment. (théâtre)
Zsigmond Móricz 1879-1942 RelationsBe Faithful Unto Death L’épouse rebelle
Péter Nádas 1942- Parallel Stories Histoires parallèles
Petőfi Sándor 1823-1849 Selection From Poems Nuages
János Székely 1901-1958 L’Enfant du DanubeLes infortunes de Svoboda
Lajos Zilahy The Dukays Les Dukays

If someone is interested, you can find my billets about Hungarian books filed under the category Hungarian literature. (Sándor Márai, István Örkény, Zsigmond Móricz, Dezső Kosztolányi, Frigyes Karinthy, Antal Szerb, Milán Füst)

Do you know any of these writers? If yes which ones and who would you recommend?

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