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Approaching My Literature: Translations from the Hungarian Exilic Experience (Volume 2)By Peter Hargitai
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Approaching My Literature (Volume 2)

Translations from the Hungarian Exilic Experience
By Peter Hargitai

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60927-012-4, 438 pages


Peter Hargitai’s translation of the Hungarian poet Attila Józef’s verse in Perched on Nothing’s Branch is a book selection in The Western Canon (The Chaotic Age: A Canonical Prophecy).
—Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities, Yale University

These grim, bitter, iron-clad poems emerge technically strong, spare and authentic in English, and they are admirably contemporary in syntax.
—May Swenson, in her citation for the Academy of American Poets

I have long thought of Attila József as one of the great poets of the century, a tragic realist whose work beautifully redeemed the unbearable conditions of the life to which history condemned him. These new translations by Peter Hargitai, so faithful, so readable, will be welcomed by József’s admirers and certainly add to their number.
—Donald Justice, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet

Elegant, erudite, a classic in the Eastern European literature of ideas. Szerb’s prose resonates with the heightened language of the era, yet it is so readable, so whimsical in its stylistic energy. A delicacy. The original found a match in Peter Hargitai’s sophisticated, faithful yet imaginative translation.
—Asher Z. Milbauer, Director, The Exile Studies Certificate Program, Florida International University

The two-volume compilation of readings in Hungarian exilic literature is a selective guide through the genres of a body of work that until recently was all but inaccessible to English readers, specialist and student alike. These voices from the “other Europe” add a unique and invaluable chord to our appreciation of global diversity by broadening the definition of exile beyond geographical dislocation to questions of identity provoked by political, cultural, psychological and spiritual displacement.

Volume Two: Translations from the Hungarian Exilic Experience showcases award-winning English translations of two 20th Century Hungarian literary giants who were forced into a life of exile in their own country—the poet Attila József (1905–1937) and the literary historian and novelist Antal Szerb (1901–1945) who was executed in 1945. Included in the volume is the work of Hungarian-American poet Ferenc Mózsi (1947–2007), the most innovative poet of his generation, who risked his life in a daring escape from communist Hungary only to have his poems suffer rejection in both mainstream America and in his native Hungary.

Peter Hargitai is a Senior Lecturer in English at Florida International University. He has been teaching Writing, Rhetoric and Literature for four decades. As a poet, author and translator, he has garnered numerous literary awards including the Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Füst Milán Award from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the Pro Cultura Hungarica Medal from the Republic of Hungary. He is a member of PEN (Writers in Exile).

Other Cognella titles by Peter Hargitai: