Hungarian Rhapsodies
240 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:10 Jun 1997
Release Date:10 Jun 1997

Hungarian Rhapsodies

Essays on Ethnicity, Identity, and Culture

UBC Press

Like the renowned American writer Edmund Wilson, who began to learnHungarian at the age of 65, Richard Teleky started his study of thatdifficult language as an adult. Unlike Wilson, he is a third-generationHungarian-American with a strong desire to understand how his ethnicbackground has affected the course of his life. "Exploring myethnicity," he writes, "became a way of exploring thearbitrary nature of my own life. It was not so much a search for rootsas for a way of understanding rootlessness -- how I stacked up againstanother way of being." He writes with clarity, perception, andhumour about a subject of importance to many Americans -- reconcilingtheir contemporary identity with a heritage from another country.

From an examination of photographer Andre Kertesz to a visit to aHungarian-American church in Cleveland, from a consideration ofstereotypical treatment of Hungarians in North American fiction andfilm to a description of the process of translating the Hungarianpoetry into English, Teleky's interests are wide-ranging. Heconcludes with an account of his first visit to Hungary at the end ofSoviet rule.

Teleky offers several riches: a sharply insightful interpretation of the marvelous photographs of André Kertész; a useful study of Hungarian stereotypes in North American fiction; a pedagogical commentary on a rarely taught subject, Central European literature in translation; and an introduction to the works of Peter Esterházy, an author who, judging by Teleky’s standards, is well worth reading and teaching in American Colleges. Alpana Sharma-Knippling, Journal of American Ethnic History (Spring 2000, 100)
... a fascinating record of a third-generation Hungarian American’s ‘attempt at understanding Hungarianness’ .... a treasure house of information filtered through the experience of an intelligent teacher. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Although there is a well-paced humour in this tenderly written book, there is also a wise man's longing for a place and a tradition which, until now, has been dispersed by war, politics, and other modern tragedies… Letters in Canada, 1997
Richard Teleky is administrator of the creativewriting program, York University, Toronto. He is the editor of TheOxford Book of French-Canadian Short Stories and the author ofGoodnight, Sweetheart and Other Stories, and Pack Up theMoon.


A Note on Hungarian Names

Playtime: Adult Language Learning, Edmund Wilson, and Me

"What the Moment Told Me": The Photographs of AndreKertesz

The Archives of St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Without Words: Hungarians in North American Fiction

The Empty Box: Hollywood Ethnicity and Joe Eszterhas

A Short Dictionary of Hungarian Stereotypes and Kitsch

Visiting Pannonia

Toward a Course on Central European Literature in Translation

The Poet as Translator: Margaret Avison's "HungarianSnap"

Introducing Peter Esterhazy 

"What Comes After": Hungarian Voices, Summer 1993

The Third Generation and the "Problem" of Ethnicity

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