In The Footsteps Of Orpheus

In The Footsteps Of Orpheus

by Zsuzsanna Ozsvath, Zsuzsanna Ozsv?th
     
 

In the Footsteps of Orpheus
The Life and Times of Miklós Radnóti
Zsuzsanna Ozsváth

A powerful account of the life, art, and tragic death of a 20th-century Hungarian Jewish poet.

"Zsuzsanna Ozsváth bring[s] forth Radnóti’s life, his thought, and his passion with a depth of insight that is rare in a scholar.

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Overview

In the Footsteps of Orpheus
The Life and Times of Miklós Radnóti
Zsuzsanna Ozsváth

A powerful account of the life, art, and tragic death of a 20th-century Hungarian Jewish poet.

"Zsuzsanna Ozsváth bring[s] forth Radnóti’s life, his thought, and his passion with a depth of insight that is rare in a scholar. Brilliant, penetrating, and passionate, Ozsváth’s book sets a new standard of excellence in Holocaust studies. It is a must for anyone who would approach the dark flame that burns at the core of the Event." —David Patterson, University of Memphis

Miklós Radnóti, a young Hungarian Jewish poet, was shot by Hungarian soldiers guarding him while on a forced march from Yugoslavia back to Hungary during the final days of World War II. When his body was discovered and exhumed nearly two years later, a small book of poems was found in his coat pocket. These poems, together with the rest of Radnóti’s work, solidified his reputation as one of Hungary’s greatest poets. Radnóti shared the experience of many Jewish artists and intellectuals in Central Europe during the early part of the 20th century, but his poetry brings out a particular and personal view of the Holocaust in Hungary. His work plays a unique role in the history of Central European culture as some of the most beautiful poems ever written in Hungarian, as a voice against the rise of totalitarianism, and as testimony to the destruction of Europe’s Jews. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth places Radnóti within the context of the political and intellectual history of interwar Hungary, situating him as an artist who is both a Jew and a Hungarian patriot. Her sensitive translations from the Hungarian lend poignancy to this tragic and forcefully told story. This account of Radnóti’s life and work explores the sources of the poet’s inspiration and imagery and restores it to its extreme times and places.

Zsuzsanna Ozsváth is Professor of Literature and the History of Ideas at the University of Texas at Dallas, where she is also Director of the Holocaust Studies Program. She is coeditor and cotranslator (with Frederick Turner) of Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Miklós Radnóti and Attila Jozsef’s The Iron-Blue Vault: Selected Poetry.

Jewish Literature and Culture—Alvin H. Rosenfeld, editor

Contents
Myth and Consciousness
Poetic Images: Socialist Art and Political Commitment
The Pull of Contraries: Making of the Past
Visions of Destruction, Lyrics of Resistance
In Extremis: 1944

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
"Co-translator of Radnóti's (Radnoti's) Foamy Sky (1992), Ozsváth (Ozsvath) (Univ. of Texas, Dallas) has written a useful and reverential biography of one of Hungary's greatest 20th-century poets. Radnóti's (Radnoti's) life story resembles that of many central European literary artists of Jewish inheritance: repelled by antisemitic writings in the early 20th century, the poet was attracted to Magyar national and literary traditions, which he universalized in his poetry. Ozsváth (Ozsvath) traces Radnóti's (Radnoti's) childhood and young manhood in the context of the central European Zeitgeist; his attraction to the political Left; his alienation as fascism gained power in Hungary; his marriage to Fanni Gyarmati, who inspired much of his poetry; and his martyrdom in May 1944 at the hands of Hungarian guards as part of a Jewish labor battalion and burial in a mass grave. Those who exhumed his body after the war found in his pocket a stained address book that had preserved ten poems he had composed as a forced laborer and on a death march, poems that established Radnóti's (Radnoti's) place in Hungarian literature. Including lucid analyses of Radnóti's (Radnoti's) poems, this well-designed, fully documented and indexed volume offers a bibliography of Hungarian and English sources and 11 useful photographs of the poet, his associates, and environs. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." —D. S. Gochberg, Michigan State University, Choice, June 2001

— D. S. Gochberg, Michigan State University

Choice - D. S. Gochberg

"Co-translator of Radnóti's (Radnoti's) Foamy Sky (1992), Ozsváth (Ozsvath) (Univ. of Texas, Dallas) has written a useful and reverential biography of one of Hungary's greatest 20th-century poets. Radnóti's (Radnoti's) life story resembles that of many central European literary artists of Jewish inheritance: repelled by antisemitic writings in the early 20th century, the poet was attracted to Magyar national and literary traditions, which he universalized in his poetry. Ozsváth (Ozsvath) traces Radnóti's (Radnoti's) childhood and young manhood in the context of the central European Zeitgeist; his attraction to the political Left; his alienation as fascism gained power in Hungary; his marriage to Fanni Gyarmati, who inspired much of his poetry; and his martyrdom in May 1944 at the hands of Hungarian guards as part of a Jewish labor battalion and burial in a mass grave. Those who exhumed his body after the war found in his pocket a stained address book that had preserved ten poems he had composed as a forced laborer and on a death march, poems that established Radnóti's (Radnoti's) place in Hungarian literature. Including lucid analyses of Radnóti's (Radnoti's) poems, this well-designed, fully documented and indexed volume offers a bibliography of Hungarian and English sources and 11 useful photographs of the poet, his associates, and environs. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." —D. S. Gochberg, Michigan State University, Choice, June 2001

From the Publisher

"Co-translator of Radnóti's (Radnoti's) Foamy Sky (1992), Ozsváth (Ozsvath) (Univ. of Texas, Dallas) has written a useful and reverential biography of one of Hungary's greatest 20th-century poets. Radnóti's (Radnoti's) life story resembles that of many central European literary artists of Jewish inheritance: repelled by antisemitic writings in the early 20th century, the poet was attracted to Magyar national and literary traditions, which he universalized in his poetry. Ozsváth (Ozsvath) traces Radnóti's (Radnoti's) childhood and young manhood in the context of the central European Zeitgeist; his attraction to the political Left; his alienation as fascism gained power in Hungary; his marriage to Fanni Gyarmati, who inspired much of his poetry; and his martyrdom in May 1944 at the hands of Hungarian guards as part of a Jewish labor battalion and burial in a mass grave. Those who exhumed his body after the war found in his pocket a stained address book that had preserved ten poems he had composed as a forced laborer and on a death march, poems that established Radnóti's (Radnoti's) place in Hungarian literature. Including lucid analyses of Radnóti's (Radnoti's) poems, this well-designed, fully documented and indexed volume offers a bibliography of Hungarian and English sources and 11 useful photographs of the poet, his associates, and environs. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." —D. S. Gochberg, Michigan State University, Choice, June 2001

Library Journal
Ozsv th (literature, Univ. of Texas at Dallas; coeditor, Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Mikl s Radn ti) has written a sensitive and honest study of Radn ti (1909-45), one of Hungary's great 20th-century poets. He poignantly describes Radn ti's difficult childhood, shows that his relationship with his wife, Fifi Gyarmati, and short affair with Judit Beck were major influences on his love poetry, and clearly discusses his problematic relationship to Judaism. (Radn ti lived during Horthy's fascist regime, a time of virulent anti-Semitism, and converted near the end of his life.) Ozsv th does a good job of explaining Hungarian history, literature, and politics and placing Radn ti's poetry in a European context. The poet was killed while serving in a German forced labor unit, and his last poems (found in a notebook on his body) contain his major and most profound work. This good study of an important European poet is recommended for literature and Jewish studies collections.--Gene Shaw, NYPL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Osv<'a>th (literature and the history of ideas, U. of Texas) combines biography and literary criticism to present the times and work of Hungarian-Jewish poet, Mikl<'o>s Radn<'o>ti (1909-44). Radn<'o>ti's work is more suited than many literary figures to biographical analysis since his ponderous life figured prominently in his work. His birth was the occasion of his mother's and twin brother's death, his decision to become a public poet almost simultaneous with growing hostility from rightist and anti-Semitic factions, and his resolve to stay in Hungary at all costs, the beginning of his demise: when the Nazis occupied Hungary, Radn<'o>ti was herded on to a train, railroaded into slave labor, and shot in the back of the neck on a long march he could no longer endure. Osv<'a>th chronicles, in great detail, chunks of political and personal history and then proceeds to the poems that grew from these contexts. Radn<'o>ti's last poems were found in his breast pocket in a mass grave over a year after his execution. In light of T. Adorno's assertion that there can be no poetry after the Holocaust, it is especially astounding that Radn<'o>ti continued to write poems even while subjected to the Holocaust. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780253338013
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
12/01/2001
Series:
Jewish Literature and Culture Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.69(d)

What People are saying about this

David Patterson
Zsuzsanna Ozsváth bring[s] forth Radnóti's life, his thought, and his passion with a depth of insight that is rare in a scholar. Brilliant, penetrating, and passionate, Ozsváth's book sets a new standard of excellence in Holocaust studies. It is a must for anyone who would approach the dark flame that burns at the core of the Event.
—(David Patterson, University of Memphis )

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