Review: Szentkuthy

“With [Towards the One & Only Metaphor], the second of Szentkuthy’s works made available in English by Contra Mundum Press, after Marginalia on Casanova, the author begins to take on more of a shape. Towards the One and Only Metaphor (1935) pre-dates the Marginalia — itself only the first volume in the larger-scale project of the St. Orpheus Breviary — and in his Introduction Rainer J. Hanshe notes it is, in part: “a response to criticisms directed against Prae,” Szentkuthy’s first novel — a volume not yet available to English-speaking readers (though it is expected soon); the bigger picture will require more patience, but like the Marginalia this volume stands strongly on its own, too.

. . .

Impressively, Tim Wilkinson’s translation manages to retain and convey much of the sense of language(-play) here — with English-in-the-original words and phrases printed in a different font, helpful in a text that effortlessly traverses languages.

. . .

While there’s very much a sense of this being one building-block of a larger œuvre — far too much of which remains, as yet, inaccessible to English-reading audiences — Towards the One and Only Metaphor is nevertheless a rewarding text on its own, a fascinating and diverse personal catalogue from the pen of an exceptionally cultured writer (which manifests itself both in his style, and in the substance of his writing).”

Michael A. Orthofer, Complete Review (29 August 2014). Read the entire review here.

For another essay on TooM, see “To Humanize & Dehumanize: Imitation, True Contrasts, and the Faustian Pact,” Hungarian Literature Online (December 16, 2013)