Encounter with a Young Man (by Frigyes Karinthy)

Connecting to the previous post, here is my attempt at the translation of a short story by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy (1887-1938).

Encounter with a Young Man

Frigyes Karinthy

I was in high spirits: forgetting about many things, I fumbled to light my cigar, and then we began walking down Andrássy út, the grand avenue of Budapest. My beatiful and darling wife was smiling at me from beneath the veil, my beatiful darling, who, behold, loved me, and had allowed me to love her.

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Every Easter, this text returns to haunt me. Written by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in 1917, it’s an anthem of moral individualism: a reminder that liberty and moral integrity are gifted to the individual – and that the collective can only corrupt them.

Although I’ve already posted this piece last Easter, I thought it had a place on this blog, too. The translation from Hungarian is mine, although I took hints from another, heavily abridged version.

For those of you who read Hungarian, here is the original: http://www.szepi.hu/irodalom/kedvenc/kt_030.html

It’s only fitting that I post this on Good Friday – but this is my Easter greeting, too: let us all have a happy time, but not an oblivious one.


by Frigyes Karinthy

On the third day, at dusk, he stepped out of the tomb, and quietly began to walk down the road. Black smoke was rising from the ruins, and surrounded him. At the bottom of a dry ditch, he found the first of those who, in front of Pilate’s house, had shouted the name of Barabbas. The wretched man was wailing at the red fumes with a blackened tongue.

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