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Journey by Moonlight (Anglais) Broché – 7 octobre 2014

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Journey by Moonlight is a beautiful book, the sort of book that stays imprinted on some soft part of you for a long time. Its intelligence is so humane—so forgiving to the last...And from the wreckage of the Holocaust, from such horrible annihilation, from such a violent silencing of so many voices, this extraordinary novel emerges as another improbable survival." —Becca Rothfeld, The New Republic

“A devastatingly intelligent novel of love, society and metaphysics in a mid-1930s Europe....As a study of erotic caprice, Journey by Moonlight is brilliant, but it is so much more than just a romp.” —Toby Lichtig, The Times Literary Supplement

“A writer of immense subtlety and generosity....Can  literary mastery be this quiet-seeming, this hilarious, this kind? Antal Szerb is one of the great European writers.” —Ali Smith

“Just divine...I can’t remember the last time I did this: finished a novel, and then turned straight back to page 1 to start it over again. That is, until I read Journey by Moonlight...It’s a comedy, but a serious and slyly clever one, the kind of book that makes you imagine the author has had private access to your own soul...Len Rix [has] managed to translate Szerb’s book into beautifully fluent English, and what we have is a work of comedy and depth, the comedy all the more striking in that the chief subjects of the book are abnegation and suicide...No one who has read it has failed to love it.” —Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
“A novel to love as well as admire, always playful and ironical, full of brilliant descriptions, bon mots and absurd situations...it’s a book utterly in love with life.” —Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Guardian, Books of the Year
“This radiantly funny and intelligent novel...shows its author to be one of the masters of twentieth-century fiction. Len Rix’s loving translation of a book that might have remained lost to us deserves special praise.” —Paul Bailey, The Times Literary Supplement, International Books of the Year
“Szerb’s first novel exulted in the absurdity of life while his last despaired over it. His most well-known work, Journey by Moonlight, written in 1937, maintained a powerful tension between both...May Szerb’s re-entrance into our literary pantheon be definitive.” —Alberto Manguel
“Mihály’s relationship with Tamás is so myopic and worshipful as to bring back memories of Death in Venice, but I respect Szerb’s book more...the book is one of the few written before the deluge that acknowledges a bourgeois unreality with an unblinkered eye.” —David Auerbach
“One of the friends I mentioned put a small book in my hand and said: ‘Len, you must read this. Every educated Hungarian knows and loves this book.’ It was Antal Szerb’s Utas és holdvilág. Within a few pages I knew it was a great European novel, and I determined not just to translate it but to try and give it a translation of the literary quality it deserves.” —Len Rix
“A veritable avalanche of brilliant perceptions...It’s all so earnest, so up-to-date, so symbolic, so sophisticated, so marvelously pleased with itself and yet so naïve and unhappy you don’t know whether to consume the book at a sitting or throw it away...Journey by Moonlight is a burning book, a major book.” —George Szirtes
“A stealthy masterpiece...both comic and beautiful.” —The Telegraph
“Wonderfully wry...We owe thanks to Len Rix, Szerb’s accomplished translator, for his part in raising from the dead a writer of such cool irony and historical sympathy.” —New Statesman

“[A] great masterpiece of high modernism…a bildungsroman of the twentieth century itself. In translator Len Rix’s gifted hands, it becomes a powerful and poignant testament to Antal Szerb’s learning and speaks to his many accomplishments…At its heart, Szerb’s narrative is a remarkable, painstaking study of a man’s fascination with his own mortality.” —Carla Baricz, Words Without Borders 

Présentation de l'éditeur

An NYRB Classics Original

The trouble begins in Venice, the first stop on Erzsi and Mihály’s honeymoon tour of Italy. Here Erzsi discovers that her new husband prefers wandering back alleys on his own to her company. The trouble picks up in Ravenna, where a hostile man zooms up on a motorcycle as the couple are sitting at an outdoor café. It’s János, someone Mihály hasn’t seen for years, and he wants Mihály to come with him in search of Ervin, their childhood friend. The trouble comes to a head when Mihály misses the train he and Erzsi are due to take to Rome. Off he goes across Italy, wandering from city to city, haunted and accosted by a strange array of figures from the troubled youth that he thought he had left behind: There are the charismatic siblings, Éva and Tamás, whose bizarre amateur theatricals linked sex and death forever in his mind; Ervin, a Jew turned Catholic monk who was his rival for Éva’s love; and again, that ruffian on the motorcycle.

Antal Szerb’s dreamlike adventure, like Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, is an intoxicating, utterly individual mix of magic, madness, eros, and menace. In the words of the critic Nicholas Lezard, “No one who has read it has failed to love it.”

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Amazon.com: 33 commentaires
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Intriguing, Alluring, Sexy, Dark 25 novembre 2004
Par John Sollami - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
A classic in Hungarian literature, so I've learned, this work rightly deserves its vaunted status. Deceptive in style, and written almost from a Kafkaesque perspective, one feels as if one is walking in the landscape of "The Castle," but dealing with characters from Donna Tartt's "The Secret History." The blend of the two is intriguing, and the feeling this work gives of 1930s European degeneracy and ennui is alluring and, one assumes, authentic, since it was first published in 1937 but has been made available in English for the first time now. The work isn't for everyone. It can be a bit ponderous and requires a certain mindset to appreciate its subtleties and its pace. But it is well worth reading for those with a literary bent, since, without a doubt, it is a highly nuanced literary work.
19 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Justifiably Acclaimed 10 septembre 2005
Par Harry Stopes - Publié sur Amazon.com
I'm afraid to say that some of the customers who reviewed this fantastic translation of a classic are terribly wide of the mark. Rix's translation certainly does retain the lyricism and beauty of the Hungarian-language original, and to suggest that his work is an "insult to Szerb" makes one wonder whether the reviewers have an ulterior motive for praising Hargitai's version at the expense of Rix.

Incidentally, as a European man I can tell that I certainly would say "I reckon." Also, has your reviewer examined the original Hungarian passage? It may well be that Tamás' language is the colloquial Hungarian equivalent of "I reckon." Len Rix is a scholar of the highest order (and a fluent speaker of Hungarian, I might add) and to suggest that he is not aware of such subtleties is laughable.

Your reviewers might also like to consider why Rix's translation was regarded as a "Book of the Year" in a number of publications, and why it was praised by none other than George Szirtes, who as they will know is a poet, critic, and Hungarian.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Wholly involving 4 novembre 2007
Par Ralph Blumenau - Publié sur Amazon.com
Mihály, the central character of this elegant and stylish novel (beautifully translated by Len Rix) seems to belong to the early continental 19th century rather than to inter-war Budapest. He is a man in his late thirties, a neurotic and Romantic character, unworldly, more at home in history than in the present, ill at ease in his bourgeois setting at home and equally ill at ease about being in his late thirties. He has a great nostalgia for the time when, as an adolescent schoolboy, he was the hanger-on of a group of unconventional young people: Tamás (who several times tried to commit suicide and eventually managed it); his sister Eva (whom Mihály adored); Ervin (another of Eva's admirers, a convert to Catholicism from Judaism); and János, a suave trickster.

The book opens twenty years later, when Mihály is on his honeymoon in Venice with his wife Erszi. Erszi had left her first husband to marry Mihály because he was `different'; he had seduced and then married her because he was trying to be `normal'. But she did not understand just how `different' he was, and he could not cope with marriage; and, besides, he is haunted by the memory of the now mysterious Eva. During a stop-over on a railway journey, Mihály makes the Freudian error of getting onto one train while Erszi is travelling on another. He is relieved to be on his own and that noone can find him. He travels from one Italian location to another - all beautifully and sometimes hauntingly described. I must not reveal the many strange, mysterious and coincidental events that happen to him; but in any case his thought processes are at least as central to the story as are the various events.

Meanwhile Erszi, unable to face her family in Budapest as a deserted wife, makes her way to Paris. There she, too, in her own way, turns against the respectable bourgeois life she has hitherto been leading. Again I must not elaborate; but the story is full of fascinating psychological twists and turns (though one of them, in an ancient chateau on a rainy night, does, I must admit, strike me as uncharacteristically grotesque and over the top - quite out of tune with the delicacy of the rest of the novel.)

The note of death is heard throughout the novel. As a youngster Mihály had to take part in the theatricals staged by Tamás and Eva which invariably involved death, with Mihály willingly playing the sacrificial victim. Later, there are suicides, cemeteries, Etruscan sarcophagi and the apparent Etruscan notion that "dying is an erotic art", which so resonates with Mihály and had done so for Tamás. Mihály hears a remarkable lecture on that subject from Professor Waldheim, one of his former class-mates whom he meets in Rome - and from that moment onwards Szerb plays some extraordinary games with his readers.

A subtle, rich and wonderful book.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The best Hungarian novel I have read 17 août 2010
Par R. M. Peterson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
To acclaim a book as "the best Hungarian novel I have read" might seem like faint praise. Actually, between Sándor Márai and Gyula Krúdy, I have read in translation several quite good novels originally written in Hungarian. But JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT surpasses them. Written in 1937, it deserves to be included among the best European literature of the 1930s, perhaps even a much broader time frame.

JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT is set in the 1930s, but its atmosphere is that of the 19th Century. The novel begins with Mihály and Erzsi, both of solidly Budapest bourgeois background, on honeymoon in Italy. Mihály is not your typical protagonist. He is as much anti-hero as hero, more passive than assertive. He becomes obsessed with nostalgia for his past and paralyzed by fecklessness concerning his future and he abandons Erzsi to embark on a solo tour of Italy. The novel then traces the remainder of their "honeymoon" until each, by entirely separate paths that do however intersect once, returns to Budapest. During their journeys, each undergoes a number of psychological travails; each encounters other sexual temptations; and each is confronted several times with the choice between conformity to bourgeois values and release of himself/herself to the realm of desire. In addition, Mihály is continuously confronted with the choice between Eros and Thanatos. (For those so inclined, the novel contains abundant material suitable for psychoanalytical interpretation.)

What most distinguishes JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT is its tone. The novel is light, playful, and ironic. Frequently Szerb's tongue is obviously planted firmly in cheek. The humor usually is under-stated, but it nonetheless elicited from me the occasional chuckle. Despite poking fun at his characters, Szerb at bottom is warm-hearted and good-natured. The fantastical and magical continuously asserts itself on the narrative, but never quite takes over. Sometimes it is shouldered aside by madcap farce and other times it relapses to a seemingly sober realism.

The novel is interlaced with Szerb's gently biting commentary on all sorts of European matters, especially Italian. (Szerb had had extended stays in England, France, and Italy.) For example, he observes of Mussolini's Fascist Italy that: "The Italian papers were always ecstatically happy, as if they were written not by humans but by saints in triumph, just stepped down from a Fra Angelico in order to celebrate the perfect social system. There was always some cause for happiness: some institution was eleven years old, a road had just turned twelve." But Szerb also, even-handedly, applies his trenchant eye to his own: After Milhály awakes from a drunken stupor in an Italian working-class home and neighborhood, "his hand unconsciously groped for his wallet. The wallet was there in its place, next to his heart, where the Middle-European, not entirely without a touch of symbolism, keeps his money."

Throughout, the novel keeps the reader off-balance. It is so playful that one is tempted to pigeonhole it as sheer entertainment, albeit quite charming and sophisticated entertainment. But I think beneath all the dazzle there are some serious themes or messages. In Rome, Mihály is shown some Etruscan drinking bowls, with the inscription (in Etruscan): "Enjoy the wine today, tomorrow there will be none." And Szerb's answer to the novel's (and the Middle European) preoccupation with suicide is that "while there is life there is always the chance that something might happen."

A paragraph about the author, with whom I was completely unfamiliar before this book caught my eye: Antal Szerb (1901 - 1945) was yet another victim of the Holocaust. He was born to assimilated Jewish parents but was baptized and raised in the Roman Catholic Church. He became a Professor of Literature and a highly regarded scholar of Western literature, and he wrote four novels in the last decade of his life. Despite opportunities to do so, Szerb refused to flee Hungary even after the Nazis occupied the country and ratcheted up their anti-Semitic demands on the Hungarian government. In late 1944 Szerb was sent to a forced-labor camp where, in January 1945, he was beaten to death. That story shares a few tragic features with the story of Bruno Schulz. I sense that the Nazi murder of Antal Szerb worked as grievous a loss on world literature as did the execution of Bruno Schulz.

Note: Amazon also carries another translation of the novel, under the title "The Traveler". There are over 270 reviews of "The Traveler", most of them by students at Florida International University where the translator of that rendition is on the faculty. I am in no position to compare the merits of the two translations, but I will say that the translation by Len Rix in JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT is highly literate and fully engaging.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Making the Journey Brighter 16 avril 2002
Par Ozzie Maland - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is the best book I have ever read, and at age 65 after a great deal of reading, that should mean something. The review in <The Guardian> in July 2001 also lavished extravagant praise on the book, but picked a little bone about the treatment of the suicide theme. Albert Camus said that suicide was the great question of the entire 2oth century. This book portrays the character transformation that occurs when an individual really confronts his mortality, his fear of death, his falling into an abyss. This confrontation is important for healing and nowhere is it portrayed better than in Szerb's book.
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