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Mátyás DUNAJCSIK
( 1983 )

» Flight Manual (2007)

Biography

1983 born in Budapest.
A poet, writer and critic, as well as literary translator from French.
2000 he begins to publish in major Hungarian periodicals.
2007 his mixed genre debut volume, Repülési kézikönyv (Flight Manual), includes poems, essays, and short stories.
Along with ten other young poets, he is a member of the Telep (Colony) web poetry blog and workshop. Proust's writings have played an important role in his work as an essayist and critic.
A member of Attila József Circle (2004-), the Hungarian PEN (2006-) and the Association of Literary Translators (2009-).

Prizes:
2008 Sándor Bródy Prize (best first book prize).

Flight Manual
2007

Dunajcsik's high-octane debut work is the perfect embodiment of his literary character. In Flight Manual, short stories mingle with essays, poems, and literary translations, all of them united by stylistic mastery, sensual refinement and a playful intellectualism. Though Dunajcsik loves to play and loves his own voice, he never fails to reflect on these loves with a degree of self-aware irony. Should one have to name Dunajcsik's true genre, which is quite impossible at this point, one might say he is ultimately a lyricist. He breathes fresh air into the grand classical Modernist tradition (the heritage of the famed journals Nyugat and Újhold) and carries it forward to the mood of our own fin de siecle and its decadent life world. He might as well be living a century ago, though in that case he would be sitting in the historic literary cafés of Budapest, named after New York and Japan, with no wireless connection for his laptop -- a subject that would no doubt find its way into his next poem. The poems display full formal control, with every rhyme perfectly pitched and each figure in the right place; metaphors can relax and settle. Yet there is something unusual here that throws the well-composed poetic structure slightly off-balance -- perhaps because Dunajcsik feels how timely his obsoleteness is. This is why he turns to predecessors and pre-texts. The volume includes, for instance, He Loves Me, which transposes Péter Esterházy's She Loves Me into a gay context. This is not the only case of rewriting in the book: Loss of Consciousness revisits in a mixture of formal and free verse a magnificent poem by Attila József (Consciousness), and Dunajcsik also offers a new translation of The Drunken Boat by Rimbaud. His prose also works on lyrical, musical principles. Fiction and essay come as close as possible, and narrative fiction and experimental reflection take leisurely walks alongside each other in his literary essays. It is no accident that he takes this genre to carnivalesque Venice -- the essay story "Venice Chapter" is one of the high points of the book. No less tellingly, yet another poem appears on the back cover (Zsebszárnyak [Pocket Wings]). For Dunajcsik, literature never ends.

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