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The page of Szerb Antal, English biography

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Szerb Antal

Biography

Antal Szerb (May 1, 1901, Budapest - January 27, 1945, Balf) was a noted Hungarian scholar and writer. He is recognized as one of the major Hungarian literary personalities of the 20th century.
Szerb was born to assimilated Jewish parents in Budapest, but baptized Catholic. He studied Hungarian, German and later English, obtaining a doctorate in 1924. From 1924 to 1929 he lived in France and Italy, also spending a year in London, England.
As a student he published essays on Georg Trakl and Stefan George. His first novel, The Pendragon Legend was published the following year (1934). His second and best-known work, Utas és holdvilág, known in English as Journey by Moonlight or The Traveler, came out in 1937. He was made a Professor of Literature at the University of Szeged the same year. He was twice awarded the Baumgarten Prize, in 1935 and 1937.
In 1941 he published a History of World Literature which continues to be authoritative today. On top of that, he published a volume on novel theory and a book about the history of Hungarian literature.
Szerb was deported to a concentration camp during World War II and was beaten to death there in January 1945, at 43.
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