UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Trail 5: A stroll in Regent’s Park in 20th century Hungarian literature

The Hungarian writer, Sándor Márai, born in Kassa (Košice, Slovakia) in 1900, went on journey to the „West”, to Paris and London, in 1936. Although he had visited both cities before, he sensed that this journey was to be a symbolic one: a last visit in the looming shadow of war, a visit to the „land of the setting sun”, a land with a definition of freedom different from that of his native Central Europe. Márai’s novel Napnyugati őrjárat is a philosophycal keepsake from this journey, with intimate, and at times sarcastic, reminiscences of town and country, home and abroad, the hustle and bustle of a metropolis and silence, belonging and alienation, the lawn of English parks and the mewing of foreign cats.

The selection of passages from the novel was translated into English by Owen Good, who studied Hungarian at SSEES between 2007 and 2011. Owen teaches English in Budapest and English-Hungarian translation at the Pázmány Péter University. He translates Hungarian literature into English.


Regents Park…

Peti Pad…
 Photo by Péter Szűcs, of InStyle magazine, Hungary
" We are staying opposite Regent's Park, in a close-of-the-century London house, frightfully identical to every other house in the neighbourhood; somehow being coy and of a good upbringing, this house doesn't differ from the others: a gentleman does not don tails when his entourage and his company wear grey day dress