Author's page

Biography

1878 born in Nyíregyháza
1893 first short story published
1895 contributor to a Debrecen newspaper
1914 member of the Petőfi Society
1897-1933 writes and publishes more than 60 novels, 3000 short stories, more than 1000 newspaper articles and four plays
1933 dies in Budapest

Prize:
1930 Baumgarten Prize

Sindbad's Youth, French Chateau,The Travels of Sindbad, The Conversion of Sindbad
1911, 1912, 1912, 1925

The Sindbad stories are accounts of Krúdy's alter-ego, Sindbad the traveller, recapturing the golden twilight of the Dual Monarchy. Krúdy continued to write these stories until his death. The main collections of these short stories are: Szindbád ifjúsága (Sindbad's Youth, 1911), A francia kastély (French Chateau, 1912), Szindbád utazásai (The Travels of Sindbad, 1912) and Szindbád megtérése (The Conversion of Sindbad, 1925). The unifying principle in these stories is time itself, for stories consist of Sindbad's recollections of his youth and his amorous adventures. Sindbad the story-teller is a tired and sceptical old man, recapitulating the important moments of his life. A whole mythological world is revealed: dreams and imagination mingle with reality, all in Krúdy's highly complex, unforgettably lyrical style that conveys a stunningly original vision of the world. Sindbad is more of a Casanova than of a Don Juan: all of the 107 women who were madly in love with him remember him with nostalgic awe. He is a born adventurer: the moment he gets the object of his desires, he unfolds his sail and sets out on a new journey. Some women commit suicide in consequence ( The Second Journey of Sindbad , Sindbad's Secret , Sinbad's Encounter with Death ), others leave him immediately after their elopement with him ( Journey at Night ), and there is one woman, Maimunka, who is waiting for his return with unquenchable, almost maternal love. Sindbad is not interested in the personal fate of these women (although sometimes he feels a slight tinge of guilt), but is enchanted by the eternal mystery of femininity. In the stories about his youth Sindbad revisits the town of his childhood, re-lives the moment his friend drowned in the river ( Years of Youth ), or remembers when he first courted an actress ( The First Flower ). On the Bridge shows him meeting his own grown-up daughter, a love-child who does not recognise her father; Sindbad cannot bear to tell her the truth. In these stories a mixed sense of tragedy and irony captures the reader: one cannot love Sindbad's rather dubious figure, but at the same time, one cannot help but understand this sad and passionate man. Reality sometimes dissolves: in some of the stories we learn that Sindbad is dead, but he hasn't ceased to exist. He often dreams of death, and dies several times ( Sindbad's Dream , Sentimental Journey ). Once he commits suicide, another time dies alone in his room. Moreover, he often returns from his death, either as a ghost that comes to visit a woman ( Return from the Grave , A Visitor in the Night ). Or he is transformed into a wooden pearl and spends his unhappy penitence in the rosary of a nun. In one story he is 103 years old, in another he is seemingly dead and his body is sent on a cart from his wife, to his lover, and back ( Suspended Animation ). The atmosphere of these stories is that of the Arabian Nights: fantastic anecdotes full of realistic, brutal details. In The Conversion of Sinbad the hero is already an old man, but he is dissatisfied with his role: he longs for new women, new experiences. He is the kind of man who attends a religious gathering only to have a look at the women. He desperately longs for the pleasures of life, and enjoys eating and drinking. His son accompanies him on these last journeys, but he is there only to listen to Sindbad's meditations. The Sindbad stories are a favourite reading in Hungary. In 1971 Szindbád was turned into an award-winning film by Zoltán Huszárik; Sinbad was played by the legendary Hungarian actor, Zoltán Latinovits.

The Crimson Coach
1914

This is Krúdy s most popular novel which also called public attention to his earlier writings. The protagonist is Kázmér Rezeda, the sad-looking gentleman whose haircut and poise of head were both slanted. He looked as if he had fallen a-dreaming some autumn evening in front of the first fire lit in the stove, burning the tokens of a past love, letters, locks of hair, little flounces, maybe even a garter as if he were still holding his head in the same pose he had taken when he gazed at the feminine letters going up in flames. (Gyula Krúdy) The novel is a nostalgic voyage between reality and dream which blends the past of turn-of-the-century Budapest with its present and perhaps future or its lack of future. As the translator states: I have a reasonable though perhaps over-optimistic hope that with this book Krúdy . . . would have broken through the barrier of language, bridged the abyss between a strange, savoury and exquisite civilization and the modern West. (Paul Tabori)

Sunflower
1918

Napraforgó, Sunflower , 1918 One of Gyula Krúdy s greatest novels, a story of extraordinary power, composed in a style that is melancholic and ecstatic at the same time. It shows the intertwining fate of five central characters, leading into the worlds of dreams, demons, legends, witches and superstition. Time is either suspended or moves at an incredible speed just as during the act of love. There are two settings (the Budapest of hopeless night carousers and the strong natural world of Krúdy s homeland, the Nyírség ). The chief protagonists are the dreamy Evelyn, her lover: Kálmán the gigolo, the noble-hearted, solitary Andor Álmos, who is in love with Evelyn, and a strange couple, the hot-blooded Ms. Maszkerádi and the demonic Mr. Pistoli (who has already driven three wives to a mental asylum). Their tangled love affairs finally lead to the death of Pistoli, the departure of Kálmán and Ms. Maskerádi, and the settled happiness of Andor and Evelyn, who plan to spend the rest of their lives watching sunflowers grow, bloom and wither. One overcast afternoon, when the house became as stuffy with pipe-smoke as if every one of his forefathers had clambered down from the framed portraits to light up, and antique medals, Maria Theresa thalers and Roman coins failed to keep him entertained; when pacing back and forth with arms behind his back became as dreary as the needless rainfall, and he found himself sending up a surprisingly prolonged sigh, as if some great sorrow had scurried just then through the door, to hide quickly under the old raincoats only to shamble forth in the night and crouch by the sleeper s bedside like a silent old man . . . On such an afternoon Andor Álmos-Dreamer visited his former lover, Madame Risoulette, to confide in her all his troubles and heartaches. (from Sunflower, translated by John Bátki)

In My Happy Youth
1930

In the last phase of his creative life, Krúdy became interested in the contrast of illusions and reality, and the style of his novels became almost puritanical, their world no longer romantic. Apart from the first two chapters of In My Happy Youth, where we meet the three protagonists and witnesses of future scenes Lajos Podolini, the one-time district administrator, his friend, Mr. Kracskovics, who suffers from insomnia, and the eccentric Miss Vilma Vilmosi, who likes walking on the ice of the Danube the novel takes place in a restaurant in Király Street called The City of Vienna where, during a rather long luncheon, snow falling outside, we see various citizens of Budapest talking leisurely, only rarely interrupted by the writer s remarks. The characters of the novel are average people (a tax inspector, an editor, a tradesman, a barber and all sorts of déclassé or illustrious people in incognito), who are chatting about various insignificant topics in happy, peaceful times (the era of Franz Joseph); when their teasing of the restaurateur and one another turns from gentle to rough, they almost start a fight. This is the plot, and Krúdy manages to introduce the atmosphere of the age, the life, the customs and tastes of the city. He does not emphasize anything. The loudest characters keep talking all day long, and it is only the short Epilogue that reveals that the witnesses sitting in the back have understood the scene much better than the regulars; they know, for instance, why the owners plan to sell this profitable restaurant.

The Beautiful Life of Kázmér Rezeda
1933

Rezeda Kázmér szép élete, The Beautiful Life of Kázmér Rezeda, 1933 This novel presents a less idealistic picture of Krúdy s city and class. The protagonist, Rezeda, can be considered his alter-ego in many respects. He stands in different guises in front of us; he called himself Sindbad the Sailor, Casimir Rezeda, the poor amorous poet who is constantly on the move and full of desires, always frequenting the company of women and has a passion for food; a man who proclaims the vanity of life . . . (Aurélien Sauvageot) Krúdy writes of imaginary people, of imaginary events, in dream-like settings; but the spiritual essence of his persons and of their places is stunningly real, it reverberates in our minds and strikes at our hearts. (John Lukacs, The New Yorker, 1 December, 1986)

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