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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2007-08-14
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics
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"Who had been unhappy in these parts? Whose life had turned sunflower-like toward the sun of happiness, and whose melancholy head hung low, before its time,during the springtime storms?" Sunflower Like his contemporaries Hugo von Hofmannsthal in Vienna and young Rainer Maria Rilke in Prague, Gyula Krudy in fin-de-siecle Budapest wrote magical, incantatory prose that embodied his nation's destiny. Budapest was a thriving modern metropolis just emerging from an Old World of witchcraft, honor, and passion, and Krudy's reveries capture that uniquely Hungarian mix of sophistication and magic. InSunflower, one of Krudy's great masterpieces, young Eveline returns to her country estate to escape the memory of her desperate love for Kalman, an unscrupulous charmer. Almos-Dreamer waits there, with his melancholy and his love for her; the beautiful and angry Maszkeradi visits, to a Gypsy serenade from Pistoli, an aging lion from the primordial older generation of Magyar men. But as in all of Krudy's writing, the plot matters less than the inset episodes of love, seduction, and betrayal; the penetrating insight into the psychologies and desires of men and women; and the haunting details and images of the natural world rising up from the mists of the birch forests. Widely acknowledged as Hungary's greatest modern prose writer and a giant of European literature, Krudy has not yet achieved the international fame he deserves. John Batki's fine translation ofSunflowerbrings into English all the riches of a style that transcends national boundaries.

Author Biography

Gyula Krúdy (1878--1933) was born in Nyíregyháza. Publishing his first short story in 1893, he would become one of the most acclaimed figures of twentieth century Hungarian literature. A novelist, short story writer, and journalist, he published more than sixty novels, three thousand short stories, four plays, and more than one thousand newspapers articles. Winner of the Baumgarten Prize in 1930, he died in Budapest in 1933.

John Lukacs is an author of several well-known history books, among them Budapest 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City and its Culture.

John Bátki's stories have appeared in The New Yorker. He has received the O. Henry Award for short fiction and has taught at Harvard University.

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