Journey by Moonlight

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Journey by Moonlight
Current Eng. trans. edition cover
Author Antal Szerb
Original title Utas és holdvilág
Translator Len Rix, Peter Hargitai
Country Hungary
Language Hungarian
Genre Novel
Publisher Pushkin Press
Publication date
1937 (English: 2001, 2003)
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 368 pp
ISBN ISBN 1-901285-37-5, ISBN 0-595-79508-0
OCLC 47978000
894.51133 21
LC Class PH3351.S86 U813 2001

Journey by Moonlight (in Hungarian, Utas és holdvilág which literally means "Traveler and Moonlight") is among the best-known novels in contemporary Hungarian literature. Written by Antal Szerb, it was first published in 1937. According to Nicholas Lezard, it is "one of the greatest works of modern European literature...I can't remember the last time I did this: finished a novel and then turned straight back to page one to start it over again. That is, until I read Journey by Moonlight."

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel features the romantic figure of Mihály, aloof and poetic, but struggling to break with an adolescent rebelliousness which he tries to quell under respectable bourgeois conformism, but also with the disturbing attraction of an erotic death-wish. There is no doubt an element of Freudianism in this. Psychoanalysis was especially influential and risqué at the time. Also present is perhaps the sexual and emotional claustrophobia of a society with strong Catholic and martial traditions. These influences notwithstanding, the novel has a distinct originality.[citation needed]

The novel follows Mihály, a Budapest native from a bourgeois family on his honeymoon in Italy, as he encounters and attempts to make sense of his past.

Characters in "Journey by Moonlight"[edit]

  • Mihály – a native resident of Budapest
  • Erzsi – his wife
  • János Szepetneki, Ervin, Tamás and Éva Ulpius: Mihály's old friends
  • Zoltán Pataki: Erzsi's first husband

Release details[edit]

  • 1937, Hungary, Révai ISBN ?, Pub date ? ? 1937, paperback (Hungarian first edition)
  • 2001, London, Pushkin Press ISBN 1-901285-37-5, Pub date 1 May 2001, paperback (as "Journey by Moonlight", by Len Rix (this translation's first edition)
  • 2003, USA, Authors Choice Press, ISBN 0-595-79508-0, hardcover, as "The Traveler", translated by Peter Hargitai
  • 2006, London, Pushkin Press ISBN 1-901285-50-2, Pub date 27 February 2006, paperback (as "Journey by Moonlight")
  • 2012, Zagreb, Croatia, ISBN 978-953-332-000-7, published in 2012 by Naklada OceanMore, paperback (as "Putnik i mjesečina" / "Traveler and Moonlight" - Croatian first edition)

Beside English, the novel has been translated into German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Croatian.

See also[edit]