The Pendragon LegendPaperback
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- Publisher: PUSHKIN PRESS
- Format: Paperback | 240 pages
- Dimensions: 124mm x 194mm x 20mm | 259g
- Publication date: 31 August 2007
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1901285898
- ISBN 13: 9781901285895
- Sales rank: 158,009
At an end-of-the London season soiree, the young Hungarian scholar-dilettante Janos Batky is introduced to the Earl of Gwynedd, a reclusive eccentric who is the subject of strange rumours. Invited to the family seat, Pendragon Castle in North Wales, Batky receives a mysterious phone-call warning him not to go...Antal Szerb's first novel The Pendragon Legend (1934), set in Wales is a gently satirical blend of gothic and romantic genres, crossed with the murder mystery format to produce a fast-moving and often hilarious romp. But beneath the surface, the reader becomes aware of a steely intelligence probing moral, psychological and religious questions.
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Antal Szerb was born in 1901 into a cultivated Budapest family of Jewish descent. Graduating in German and English, he rapidly established himself as a prolific scholar, publishing books on drama and poetry, studies of Ibsen and Blake, and histories of English, Hungarian and world literature. His first novel, The Pendragon Legend, was written in 1934. Journey by Moonlight appeared in 1937, followed in 1943 by The Queen's Necklace and various volumes of novellas. He died in a forced-labour camp at Balf in January 1945.
Szerb was fluent in German and English and greatly interested in unusual religious beliefs. His knowledge of Rosicrucianism and the occult informs this often very funny book, which takes many affectionate potshots at the period's popular fiction. Szerb, who produced a history of English literature, knew his Shakespeare, Blake and Milton, but also the frothier writings of John Buchan, Edgar Wallace and P G Wodehouse -- Paul Bailey The Independent The novel shoots back and forth between London and Wales; and, quite astonishingly, there is not a false note in it... Szerb is a master novelist, a comedian whose powers transcend time and language (again, thanks to Rix for his tender approach to the source material), and a playful, sophisticated intellect... There is so much in this book that it is impossible to summarise, except to say that it is a romp, but one which romps within itself; it has fun with the conventions, and has fun with having fun with them, too. It is an absolute treat, deliciously ludic, to be read with a big smile on your face throughout -- Nicholas Lezard The Guardian May Szerb's entry into our literary pantheon be definitive -- Alberto Manguel Financial Times