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Wed, 04 Sep 2013 03:52:59 EDT by admin, 51142 views
Language and Literature paper by Czipott, Peter V. (all papers)
The Prophetic Voice in the Poetry of Miklós Radnóti and Sándor Márai
As the shadows of war, fascism and genocide became pitch-dark over Hungary 70 years ago, Radnóti and Márai both turned to a prophetic voice in their poetry. Radnóti’s Eclogues, begun in the late 1930’s, fuse Virgilian classicism, modern colloquialism, and the spirit of Biblical prophecy. The prophetic voice reaches its apogee in the Eighth Eclogue where the prophet Nahum speaks. Márai, in his “Book of Verses” – much of it written simultaneously with Radnóti’s final “Bor Notebook” – finds a similar breadth of expression. Márai’s rage at Hungary’s betrayal of its moral and cultural heritage reaches similar levels of biblical thunder. Radnóti’s late poetry and “The Book of Verses” present complementary poetic images of the times. The two authors had different perspectives – Radnóti, a victim of the Holocaust and Márai, a Gentile survivor (who also saved his Jewish wife) – but their humanity and morality were alike. Radnóti is deservedly known worldwide as a great poet of the twentieth century and chronicler of the Holocaust. Márai, best known for his prose, deserves recognition for a fine body of verse, even if it does not reach the very highest rank. Similarities and contrasts between their poetry will be discussed, using recently published translations of Radnóti and Márai.
Brief Professional Bio:
Peter V. Czipott, Ph.D., is an applied physicist and literary translator. Born in California to Hungarian parents, he obtained B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of California, San Diego. Working with the poet John Ridland, he has published translations of poetry by, among others, Miklós Radnóti, Sándor Márai, György Faludy, Sándor Reményik and Bálint Balassi in journals in the U.S., UK and Australia, as well as bilingual book-length editions of selected poems by Radnóti (“All that Still Matters at All”, New American Press, 2014) and Márai (“The Withering World”, Alma Classics, 2013).