1. Writers No One Reads: A Laszlo Krasznahorkai Reading List →

    writersnoonereads:

    Over at Tin House, Stephen offers a reading list for fans of Laszlo Krasznahorkai.

    In March of last year, English-language readers were finally presented with Satantango, the first novel by Laszlo Krasznahorkai, the writer Susan Sontag once called “the contemporary Hungarian master of the apocalypse.” The novel, considered a masterpiece in the author’s native country since its original publication in 1985, adds to his work now available in English, revealing in the process one of the most singular oeuvres in contemporary literature. And, though the time between translations of Krasznahorkai’s novels appears to be shortening (New Directions will publish his Seiobo There Below this spring), readers suffering withdrawal from his bleak, absurdist universe have much to explore. Below is a short, non-exhaustive list of writers, all Mittel-European, who share affinities with Krasznahorkai.

    The Adventures of Sindbad, Gyula Krudy

    Kafka isn’t the only of Krasznahorkai’s forerunners to have his name turned into an adjective. According to translator George Szirtes, “Krudyesque” is a term that in Hungarian extends beyond a merely literary descriptor to encompass “experience comprised of the nostalgic, the fantastic and the ironic.” Krudy’s Sindbad Stories—collected as The Adventures of Sindbad (NYRB)—take place in a world that will strike readers of Krasznahorkai as familiar, if less unrelentingly bleak. These tales of amorous conquests unfurl mistily, though they ring with an achingly melancholic erotic tension. Modernist, prefiguring “magical realism,” and amoral: the stories are not cautionary in any sense, despite the constant refrain that desire causes nothing but trouble—and leads to a landscape strewn with suicides.(Zoltan Huszarik adapted Krudy’s stories in his 1971 film Szindbad.)

  2. Are we finally getting the hang of foreign fiction? →

    And in the same Sam Jordison article he praises the recently released The Adventures of Sindbad by Gyúla Krudy and translated by George Szirtes: “The first thing to notice (and Szirtes’ translation must partly be to thank here) is how beautifully it is written. The prose drips autumnal richness: colourful, sensual descriptions; a sense of warmth and languor, of plenty and fruitfulness. True to autumn, there is also an awareness of imminent loss; a foreknowledge of a long, cold winter to come. Everywhere there is nostalgia, rarely directly stated, but evocatively suggested…”

    fwriction:

    Sam Jordison over at the Guardian Books Blog echoes our sentiments about the importance and power of translated works:

    One thing I am wondering, however, is if we in the English-speaking world are becoming better at understanding the value of good translated literature. In that earlier article, I noted that “although around 60% of all translations are taken from the English language, English readers take only around 2-3% of their books from other languages”. I haven’t been able to find contradictory figures, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the imbalance is becoming less marked. Stieg Larsson continues to sell by the bucketload; Roberto Bolaño is ever more revered; new imprints such as Gallic Books, focusing exclusively on translation, are thriving. In the meantime, the exemplary New York Review Books has brought out so many translations of such high quality that a serious reader could take in nothing else for years and still feel entirely satisfied.

  3. Look familiar?
mhsteger:

Jadwiga Janczewska, Zakopane in a photograph made c. 1913 by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (born 24 February, 1885; died 18 September, 1939); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
(Janczewska was Witkiewicz’s fiancée.  In 1914, she shot herself in the Tatra mountains, and it is believed that her suicide was the result of an argument among Witkiewicz, Janczewska and the composer Karol Szymanowski, with whom Janczewska was thought to have been in love.)

    Look familiar?

    mhsteger:

    Jadwiga Janczewska, Zakopane in a photograph made c. 1913 by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (born 24 February, 1885; died 18 September, 1939); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

    (Janczewska was Witkiewicz’s fiancée.  In 1914, she shot herself in the Tatra mountains, and it is believed that her suicide was the result of an argument among Witkiewicz, Janczewska and the composer Karol Szymanowski, with whom Janczewska was thought to have been in love.)