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Krudy's Chronicles: Early Twentieth Century in Gyula Krudy's Journalism [Hardcover]

By Gyula Krudy (Author)
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Item description for Krudy's Chronicles: Early Twentieth Century in Gyula Krudy's Journalism by Gyula Krudy...

Had there been news television channels in 1956, between October 23 and November 4 viewers would have been chained to their sets all over the world. This book tells the story of the Hungarian Revolution in 120 original documents, from the notes of the first meeting of Khroushchev with Hungarian bosses after Stalin`s death in 1953 to Yeltsin`s declaration made in 1992. In between, among others, letters of Yuri Andropov, Ambassador of the USSR in Budapest during and after the revolt. The great majority of the material appears in English for the first time and almost all come from archives, which were inaccessible until the 1990s.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Central European University Press
Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.28" Width: 6.42" Height: 1.23"
Weight:   1.46 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 15, 2000
Publisher   Central European University Press
ISBN  9639116785  
ISBN13  9789639116788  

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More About Gyula Krudy

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! About the Author:
Gyula Krudy (1878-1939) was a prolific novelist and journalist who, shortly before his death, was awarded the Rothermore prize as late recognition of his achievements. About the Translator:
George Szirtes, Senior Lecturer in Poetry at Norwich School of Art & Design and author of many collections of poetry, is the 1995 recipient of the European Poetry Translation Prize for his translation of Zsuszsa Rabovszky's New Life.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Austria
2Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Eastern
3Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Germany > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Germany
5Books > Subjects > History > World > General
6Books > Subjects > History > World
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Eastern European

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Reviews - What do customers think about Krudy's Chronicles: Early Twentieth Century in Gyula Krudy's Journalism?

Requiem for a Vanished World -- Regrets and Second Thoughts  Jul 2, 2007
Gyula Krudy was a writer whose talents spilled over the conventional boundaries that separate fiction and non-fiction (especially daily "color" journalism, which he and many of his Hungarian writer-peers practiced to keep the wolf away from the door). He lived from 1878 to 1933, writing prolifically and stylishly from his fifteenth year onward. He is the foremost documenter of life in Budapest during the period running from the 1890's through the 1920's. The collection under review contains newspaper pieces which are dated between 1914 and 1932. The volume begins with one of his last pieces, a half-century's retrospective look back at 1882 (in this article he portrays the famous public personalities involved in a "bellwether event" of that era, an indictment of a group of small-town Jews for an alleged ritual murder, the story of which became so preposterous that the case collapsed from the weight of its own absurdities before it was brought to trial).

The stories in this solid translation by John Batki are not arranged chronologically but thematically, many of them being colorful portraits of eminent political figures, fellow writers, and a host of appealing eccentrics and "men about town" who strutted the stage of his beloved (and occasionally reviled) Budapest during the twilight years of the Dual Monarchy. These pieces look back fondly -- with touches of mild irony -- at the "beautiful lost life" of pre-World-War I Hungary, those years during which Budapest grew rapidly and became the scene of a flourishing, even dizzying cultural life in which Krudy himself was one of the major participants and foremost talents.

There is an interesting selectivity in the editor-translator's approach - there is nothing in the collection written before May 1914 (an innocent and unsuspecting month preceding the assassination which sparked the First World War), in other words, nothing from that period when Krudy arrived as an eager young provincial on the scene and walked and studied the mushrooming city to which he became indissolubly attached. Several scattered articles written during the war years indicate growing disenchantment and regret over the Hungarian "rush to the Habsburg colors" in 1914 - both his countrymen's and Krudy's own regret, understanding that the war will destroy a way of life, riddled with flaws as it was, which will be replaced by something which is likely to be far worse. Krudy can see that the nature of modern war as industrialized butchery makes Hungarian pretensions to martial valor a ludicrous claim, though he empathizes with the lowly foot-soldiers who slog out the war's pointless battles. In the pieces of 1918 and 1919 we read of Krudy's infatuation with the leadership and grand gestures of Mihaly Karolyi (decreeing land-reform and giving away his own vast estates to local farmers and artisans), and then of Krudy's coolness to the Kun regime as it is on the verge of seizing power and transforming Karolyi's Republic into a "Soviet". Within six years ("Karolyi's Strange Career", 1925) his opinion of Karolyi's achievements has faded and become both rueful and more nuanced. (He did not live to witness Karolyi's brief comeback under another postwar transitional government of the late 1940's; had he done so he would probably have rounded off his observations of this sinusoidal career.)

In the 1914-1919 articles one senses that Krudy temporarily rejects his strong attachments to the pre-war society of Hungary, because it seems to have led to the current disasters of the war years through that earlier era's thoughtlessness and continual postponement of rational solutions to the nation's social and economic problems (i.e., the problems inherent in a political system of long-lingering feudalism). But by the mid-1920's he is growing ever more wistful about this vanished period and its social underpinnings, seeing it in the new light of the botched Republic and the unattractive Regency governments. The pieces on the rejected Habsburgs also reflect this depression and rebound in his own thinking. If you wish to characterize Krudy's position on the "ideological" spectrum, it would probably be fair to say that he was conventionally liberal in politics (without ever losing the chauvinism of Hungarians of his era toward other national minorities within their country) and conservative or traditional in his social and cultural attachments.

Krudy's journalism, fiction, and talents as a Hungarian stylist come highly recommended. The author of the book's Introduction, the Hungarian-American historian John Lukacs, has been advertising Krudy's merits as Hungary's "novelist as social and cultural historian par excellence" for several decades, and the pieces included in this collection tend to support his claims. Sixty years ago his fellow novelist and journalist (a generation younger than Krudy), Sandor Marai, also sang his praises in his observations on the glories of Hungarian literature which form part of Marai's "Memoir of Hungary, 1944-1948". As you read along in the Chronicles you will encounter many colorful characters and downright eccentrics -- the two pieces on the renowned gambler, Miklos Szemere, are priceless -- who populate the streets, night-clubs, taverns, theater boxes, cafes, casinos and election hustings of Budapest and remote towns of the region where Krudy was born and raised (e.g., the legend of "Uncle" Jeremias Burger of Szabolcs County).

For the reader who is interested in the social history of this time and place the articles provide a whole network of pathways that might be followed further - reading a biography of Podmaniczky, the driving force behind much of Budapest's late 19th century development as a unified city, would be instructive for native New Yorkers whose own disparate boroughs were being pulled together while a commercial and housing construction boom took place during the same period of time (the last third of the 19th century); and following the trail of the eccentric painter Mednyanszky will lead one into viewing the work of several generations of talented painters influenced by major European artistic movements of the time while resolutely dealing with Hungarian themes. This book can take you many places, and one hopes that these obscure corners of a deceased (but, in Hungary, often symbolically resurrected) world will continue to be illuminated for English and American readers by judicious editors and able translators, as in the present work.

An excellent book  Jun 26, 2006
Krudy's Chronicles are very enjoyable. It's helpful if you are somewhat familiar with Hungarian history and have at least a cursory knowledge of the language.
Slow Dance at the Edge of a Cliff  Jan 31, 2004
In 1988, historian and literary critic John Lukacs wrote an article for the New Yorker about turn-of-the-century Hungarian writers, most particularly Gyula Krudy. Fifteen years of intense searching yielded only one old English translation of _The Red Postcoach_, which I found at the UCLA library. Much to my delight, there are at this date two of Krudy's works available in English: _Chronicles_ (with an introduction by Lukacs) and _Adventures of Sindbad_ -- both published by the Central European University Press in Budapest.

Why read Krudy? If you are Hungarian, like me, the answer is simple: Gyula Krudy in his writings distilled the very essence of being Magyar, that slow dance at the edge of a cliff that, along with pork and paprika, is at the heart of the Hungarian Soul. If you are not a Hungarian, you may enjoy reading some of the best journalism ever written since Dickens did his _Sketches by Boz_; or Joseph Mitchell, _The Bottom of the Harbor_. He took a snapshot of that fin-de-siecle Hapsburg world that careened into the abyss with the First World War and awoke to find itself cold and hungry in its aftermath.

The best pieces in the book were written during the 1920s and 1930s and look back to the Dual Monarchy (of Austria and Hungary) days from 1890 to 1910. Most notable are such originals as Baron Frigyes Podmaniczky, the Haussmann of Budapest (there is an entire article about his beard!); Miklos Szemere, gambler, sportsman, and parliamentarian, who was banned by Emperor Franz Joseph from Austria for an impolitic win at cards; and Istvan Tisza, the gaunt "sheriff" who ran Hungary with an iron fist.

Krudy's articles about the war start on an upbeat note, but change as the news of horrific defeats sinks in. Other articles cover the Hapsburg family, including one on Ida Ferenczy, the Queen's favorite lady in waiting. The best of the lot is a foreboding story about the coronation of the short-lived Charles IV at St Matthias church in Budapest.

For whatever reason you choose to read this delightful collection of journalism, I predict that you, too, will fall under the sway of that Magyar charmer Gyula Krudy.


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