The New York Review Books are one of my primary go-to publishers for interesting titles. I’ve just been introduced to a wonderful Hungarian writer with whom I was totally unaware, despite his popularity and influence. I’m speaking of Gyula Krúdy (1878-1933).
Krúdy was a journalist by trade and wrote hundreds of short stories and a few novels and supported his family on the proceeds. Krúdy was extremely popular in Hungary after WW I and perhaps unavoidably lived a fast-and-loose life-style of drinking, gambling, womanizing, and all those other activities that are prerequisite to any personal dissipation. Krüdy paid the price and despite major literary awards, he disappeared from memory after his death, this despite having published over fifty novels and three thousand short stories.
Luckily Sándor Márai revived interest in Krúdy and now there are several of his books in print again. The NYRB collection titled The Adventures of Sindbad offers just a few of the stories (Sindbad was Krúdy’s alter ego throughout much of writing).
In my reading about Krúdy the reviewers speak of his work and his influence much in the manner in which they speak of Kafka. Krúdy was his own voice and developed his own style of writing, often suggesting later literary developments such as stream-of-consciousness and even magical realism. A new voice from the past, well worth looking into.
Books by Gyula Krúdy that appear to be readily available:
- The Adventures of Sindbad
- Life Is a Dream
- Krudy’s Chronicles: Early Twentieth Century in Gyula Krudy’s Journalism