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Reading Group

Seminar: The Personal In A Political World: The Fiction of Magda Szabó, with Nicholas Birns

Thursday, October 5, 2023 - 11:00 AM | Whitridge Room | for members only | $75 per person | registration required

Magda Szabó (1917-2007) is the most famous and most translated Hungarian novelist, and her work has had an effect on the representation of gender in fiction in the 21st century. Living through the tumultuous 20th century within an unusual Hungarian Calvinist background, her work presents a vision of the personal in a political world that constitutes a revelatory perspective on modernity. We will concentrate on novels she wrote from the 1960s to the 1980s, under a communist regime in Hungary, and in isolation from much of the rest of the literary world. These books explore the intricacies of psychology, interpersonal relations, and narrative form.

Readings will include Iza’s Ballad (1963) as translated by George Szirtes, Katalin Street (1969) as translated by Len Rix, and her best-known novel, The Door (1987) as translated by Len Rix.

This seminar took place on Thursdays October 5, November 9, and December 14, 2023.