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In the Footsteps of Orpheus: The Life and Times of Miklós Radnóti (Jewish Literature and Culture)

In the Footsteps of Orpheus: The Life and Times of Miklós Radnóti (Jewish Literature and Culture)
Author: Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
ISBN 13: 9780253338013
ISBN 10: 253338018
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication Date: 2001-12-22
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 288
List Price: $39.95

Mikls Radnti, a young Hungarian Jewish poet, was shot by German guards while on a forced march from Yugoslavia back to Hungary during the final days of World War II. When his body was discovered and exhumed nearly two years later, a small book of poems was found in his coat pocket. These poems, together with the rest of Radnti's work, solidified his reputation as one of Hungary's greatest poets. Radnti shared the experience of many Jewish artists and intellectuals in Central Europe during the early part of the 20th century, but his poetry brings out a particular and personal view of the Holocaust in Hungary. His work plays a unique role in the history of Central European culture as some of the most beautiful poems ever written in Hungarian, as a voice against the rise of totalitarianism, and as testimony to the destruction of Europe's Jews. Zsuzsanna Ozsvth places Radnti within the context of the political and intellectual history of interwar Hungary, situating him as an artist who is both a Jew and a Hungarian patriot. Her sensitive translations from the Hungarian lend poignancy to this tragic and forcefully told story. This account of Radnti's life and work explores the sources of the poet's inspiration and imagery and restores it to its extreme times and places.

About the Author:
Zsuzsanna Ozsvth is Professor of Literature and the History of Ideas at the University of Texas at Dallas, where she is also Director of the Holocaust Studies Program. She is coeditor and cotranslator (with Frederick Turner) of Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Mikls Radnti and Attila Jozsef's The Iron-Blue Vault: Selected Poetry.

Library Journal

Ozsv th (literature, Univ. of Texas at Dallas; coeditor, Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Mikl s Radn ti) has written a sensitive and honest study of Radn ti (1909-45), one of Hungary's great 20th-century poets. He poignantly describes Radn ti's difficult childhood, shows that his relationship with his wife, Fifi Gyarmati, and short affair with Judit Beck were major influences on his love poetry, and clearly discusses his problematic relationship to Judaism. (Radn ti lived during Horthy's fascist regime, a time of virulent anti-Semitism, and converted near the end of his life.) Ozsv th does a good job of explaining Hungarian history, literature, and politics and placing Radn ti's poetry in a European context. The poet was killed while serving in a German forced labor unit, and his last poems (found in a notebook on his body) contain his major and most profound work. This good study of an important European poet is recommended for literature and Jewish studies collections.--Gene Shaw, NYPL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.