Journey by Moonlight
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Current English trans. edition cover
|Original title||Utas és holdvilág|
|1937 (English: 2001, 2003)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|LC Class||PH3351.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."
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. 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 marital traditions. These influences notwithstanding, the novel has a distinct originality.
Characters in "Journey by Moonlight"
- 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
- 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, Spanish, Dutch and Croatian.
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