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There Goes Valzer

László Krasznahorkai, translated by George Szirtes: A Story, 20 March 2014

... My name​ is Róbert Valzer and I like walking, not that I have anything to do with the famous Robert Walser, nor do I think it strange that walking should be my favourite hobby. I call it a hobby but I accept – or rather I am prepared to entertain the fact – that where I live in this Central European country I am considered to be too unstable to be regarded as a normal person and that my hobby is not to be compared with other people’s hobbies ...


Mark Ford, 19 January 1989

The Irish for No 
by Ciaran Carson.
Bloodaxe, 63 pp., £4.95, July 1988, 9781852240752
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On Ballycastle Beach 
by Medbh McGuckian.
Oxford, 59 pp., £4.95, June 1988, 0 19 282106 7
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Themes on a Variation 
by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 166 pp., £6.95, May 1988, 0 85635 778 2
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by George Szirtes.
Oxford, 68 pp., £4.95, June 1988, 0 19 282096 6
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April Galleons 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 97 pp., £8.95, June 1988, 0 85635 776 6
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... of most Irish poetry are rarely as pronounced in mainland British verse. Edwin Morgan and George Szirtes are both willing to expand their poetics beyond its traditional range. Morgan has always delighted in maverick experiments both with the typewriter and with scissors-and-paste, and his new book, Themes on a Variation, provides the customary ...

Imagining the Suburbs

Stan Smith, 9 January 1992

Common Knowledge 
by John Burnside.
Secker, 62 pp., £6, April 1991, 0 436 20037 6
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The Son of the Duke of Nowhere 
by Philip Gross.
Faber, 57 pp., £4.99, April 1991, 0 571 16140 5
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Bridge Passages 
by George Szirtes.
Oxford, 63 pp., £5.99, March 1991, 0 19 282821 5
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Time Zones 
by Fleur Adcock.
Oxford, 54 pp., £5.99, March 1991, 0 19 282831 2
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Selected Poems 
by Fleur Adcock.
Oxford, 125 pp., £6.99, March 1991, 0 19 558100 8
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Spilt Milk 
by Sarah Maguire.
Secker, 50 pp., £6, April 1991, 0 436 27095 1
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The Sirocco Room 
by Jamie McKendrick.
Oxford, 56 pp., £5.99, March 1991, 0 19 282820 7
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by Gerard Woodward.
Chatto, 80 pp., £5.99, April 1991, 0 7011 3758 4
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... by exporting an elderly English widow as a minor Hindu deity. Of the poets here, Philip Gross and George Szirtes follow Conrad’s route. Fleur Adcock, re-importing a wicked Englishness from the Antipodes, favours Mrs Moore. The others work variations on Forster, with the occasional Conradian divertissement. The son of ‘a Displaced Person from ...

An apple is an apple

August Kleinzahler: György Petri, 19 July 2001

Eternal Monday: New and Selected Poems 
by György Petri, translated by Clive Wilmer.
Bloodaxe, 96 pp., £7.95, June 1999, 1 85224 504 2
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... is from an earlier selection of Petri’s poems chosen and translated by Clive Wilmer and George Gömöri, Night Song of the Personal Shadow, as are these lines from ‘Marriage’: Your skirt is like a bag of candies, offering familiar sweetness. Do not resent him thinking he’s grasped what in fact he’s misunderstood. (Though already love’s ...

Where Forty-Eight Avenue joins Petőfi Square

Jennifer Szalai: László Krasznahorkai, 26 April 2012

by László Krasznahorkai, translated by George Szirtes.
Atlantic, 320 pp., £12.99, May 2012, 978 1 84887 764 1
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... and War, each section is a single sentence that sometimes coils over several pages. His translator George Szirtes has written of ‘the slow lava flow of narrative … the vast black river of type’, which beautifully describes the physical experience of reading Krasznahorkai’s work, the need to slow down in order to find its rhythm, the feeling that ...

Desired Desire

Adam Phillips: Sándor Márai and the myth of redemptive love, 21 October 2004

Conversations in Bolzano 
by Sándor Márai, translated by George Szirtes.
Viking, 294 pp., £14.99, November 2004, 0 670 91534 3
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... gives Márai’s writing its brusque vitality in this book, so fluently translated by the poet George Szirtes, is his ingenuity at warding off, or keeping at bay, his own disillusionment with the novel. Like Casanova, he has to be unflagging in his wish never to flag. He has to keep telling himself, and the reader, that it’s worth going on reading ...

Accidents of Priority

John Redmond, 22 August 1996

Can You Hear, Bird 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 128 pp., £9.95, February 1996, 9781857542240
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The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 
by Jorie Graham.
Carcanet, 220 pp., £12.95, March 1996, 1 85754 225 8
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Selected Poems 
by Barbara Guest.
Carcanet, 220 pp., £12.95, May 1996, 1 85754 158 8
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Selected Poems 1976-1996 
by George Szirtes.
Oxford, 126 pp., £9.99, March 1996, 0 19 283223 9
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Adam’s Dream 
by Peter McDonald.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £6.95, March 1996, 1 85224 333 3
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... please’, ‘Yoo hoo’), daft, slightly old-fashioned exclamations (‘by Gosh’, ‘by George’, ‘by Golly’) and corny ones (‘Heck’, ‘Darn!’, ‘nifty’, ‘critter’, ‘dangblasted’). This fits in well with the book’s obsessive concern with past fashions, games that are no longer played, flowers that are no longer worn, and ...

The Politics of Translation

Marina Warner: Translate this!, 11 October 2018

This Little Art 
by Kate Briggs.
Fitzcarraldo, 365 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 910695 45 6
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Translation as Transhumance 
by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz.
Les Fugitives, 150 pp., £10, November 2017, 978 0 9930093 3 4
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Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto 
by Mark Polizzotti.
MIT, 168 pp., £17.99, May 2018, 978 0 262 03799 0
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The 100 Best Novels in Translation 
by Boyd Tonkin.
Galileo, 304 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 903385 67 8
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The Work of Literary Translation 
by Clive Scott.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £75, June 2018, 978 1 108 42682 4
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... rendering of Chinese when I was young to László Krasznahorkai, more recently, in the versions of George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet, which read enthrallingly in English, though needless to say I have no way of knowing what the originals are like. Many celebrated translators, like Gansel, carry on adding to their linguistic crane bag: Michael Henry ...

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