Monday, 5 July 2010
New Links on Right and a piece of Sindbad
There are two more Link categories on the right of this post if you read down it:
1. George Szirtes Reading, where I will store recordings I make (The Courtyards is there);
2. Other GS Texts Online, where I will put anything I find of mine that seems to have crept online without me knowing, not including poems. I do this because I have found that most of my translation of Gyula Krúdy's The Adventures of Sindbad is available on Google Books. I think the Introduction (scroll down) to it is one of the best introductions I have written: maybe because it is to one of the books I have best loved. You can click through the book, which is an absolute classic, to get the stories.
It is also the basis of a fascinating film, itself a classic of its genre, Szindbad, directed by Zoltán Huszárik in 1971. Here is an excerpt from it.
Sindbad (as it appeared in the English translation) is over three hundred years old, a lover of women and fine food. Played here by Zoltán Latinovits, the most popular male actor of his day, he is in a country inn, indulging himself.
The dialogue is in Hungarian, of course and it is too long to translate here, but the essence is this: Sindbad keeps asking for more and more food, constantly declaring his preference for this or that way of making it, for this or that cut of meat or poultry, for this or that way of dressing or spicing it. He goes through his preference for the various kinds of mustard firmly declaring for English mustard (you see a jar of it on the table).
In the meantime he has asked the waiter whether he was married. The waiter sadly replies that he was but that his wife has left him. He tells how he met her at the casino where he was on good terms with the jockeys and how someone there decided to make a fortunate man of him by introducing him to the her.
And then what happened? asks Sindbad between ordering yet more platters and discoursing on food. The waiter answers that his marriage was the ruin of him. She ran away to a village and there she married some foolish member of the local gentry.
Sindbad frowns and takes another bite. I was that man, he tells the waiter.
And has she left you too? the waiter asks.
Yes, Sindbad replied. But no matter.
And carries on eating.
The food in the meanwhile serves as metaphor for the delights of sensuality, in silent close up, bubbling and dripping, swimming in its own juices.
If interested, do read the Introduction mentioned above.
The Krúdy book I have just reviewed for the TLS, Life is a Dream (review to appear soon) is full of meals and food and sensuality. I doubt whether there exists another book of stories so lovingly descriptive of food.
Also there is Tibor Déry's collection of stories Love, to which I also wrote an Introduction (again, scroll down).