Journey by Moonlight

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Journey by Moonlight
Covers 45356.jpg
First edition
AuthorAntal Szerb
Original titleUtas és holdvilág
TranslatorLen Rix,
PublisherPushkin Press
Publication date
1937 (English: 2001, 2003)
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
894.51133 21
LC ClassPH3351.S86 U813 2001

Journey by Moonlight (Hungarian: Utas és holdvilág, literally "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."[1]

Plot introduction[edit]

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. The novel features his romantic figure, 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.

Some of the neurotic episodes that Mihály experiences throughout the story have been understood as motifs related to Freudian psychoanalysis, which had been especially influential at the time in Hungary. [2]

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)
  • 1994, New York, USA, Püski-Corvin Books,ISBN 0-915951-21-5, Library of Congress Number 93-84996, Pub date 1994, paperback (as "The Traveler", translated by Peter Hargitai (this novel's first English 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 second 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, Slovene, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish and Croatian.


  1. ^ Lezard, Nicholas (28 July 2001). "Just divine". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  2. ^ Havasréti, József (2011). "Egyesek és mások". Jelenkor.

See also[edit]