Tag Archives: Joseph Brodsky

Literary roundup: The Szentkuthy renaissance and Odessan letters

At Hungarian Literature Online (HLO) there is a very thorough summary of the efforts by translator Tim Wilkinson and Contra Mundum Press to bring Hungarian writer Miklós Szentkuthy (1908–1988) into the international prominence many feel he deserves. The latest Szentkuthy work published in English is his Marginalia on Casanova, with Towards the One & Only […]

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Literary roundup: Libya through Hungarian eyes, Akhmatova weighs in, and the dark marvelous

“Insallah,” he said, and took a long drag. “If NATO gives the green light, then we attack.” “Twins,” a story of the Libyan uprising from Hungarian writer and war correspondent Sándor Jászberényi is featured on Pilvax Magazine. And so yet another Central European writer has devoted his attention to the Arab/Islamic world without a peep […]

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Literary roundup: American Miłosz, Azeri satire and Hašek’s other writing

The US consulate in Poland has opened a photography exhibition in the central Polish city of Kielce titled “American Milosz.” The show consists of photographs of the poet Czesław Miłosz while he was living in the US taken by his brother Andrzej Miłosz in Berkeley in the 70s as well as by a Chicago-based Polish […]

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St. Petersburg’s lost poet

Today marks what would have been the 72nd birthday of poet Joseph Brodsky. Two months after his death in January 1996, Czeslaw Milosz wrote in Index on Censorship of what was at stake in Brodsky’s poetry:  “In one of his essays Brodsky reflected that Mandelstam was a poet of culture. He too was a poet […]

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Literary roundup: Polish vampires, Russian apartment sellers and German inadequates (take your pick)

After arresting him and then throwing him out of the country the (admittedly different, i.e. not quite Soviet) Russian government is redressing the poetic balance by opening a museum to poet Joseph Brodsky in his former St. Petersburg apartment. The catch – the city government owns all the rooms of the apartment except one, and […]

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Arthur Koestler, Kim Philby and the myth of gradual progress

In a burst of end of the year cheer British political philosopher John Gray wrote an article on the BBC about the myth of progress in light of the ongoing collapse of European institutions, if not of free-market capitalism altogether. I can see his point as far as puncturing simplistic, utopian tendencies – as if […]

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Haunted castles and underlying themes: new magazines

The second installment of Peter Mendelsund’s series of essays on jacketing fiction is up, in which he asks whether designers “are, or should be, in the business of representing the underlying themes put forward by the works of fiction that we are charged with making jackets for.” There is a lot of Central and Eastern […]

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Joseph Brodsky

On May 24, 1940 the great Russian poet and essayist Joseph Brodsky was born in Leningrad. And while the 71st birthday of the man who was viewed by many, including Anna Akhmatova, as pulling the country’s poetic tradition out of the Stalinist ashes may not be occasion for parades on the streets of Moscow or […]

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On the non-existence of Central European literature

Central European literary life A recurring obstacle to writing about Central European literature is the fact that it apparently doesn’t exist. As recently as this year, when Penguin UK brought out its series of Central European Classics, British novelist Adam Thirlwell began his overview of the collection by writing “I can put it like this. […]

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