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29 October 2010


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so are you a turk or a greek?


If I'm not mistaken, Edmund Wilson occupied his final days by trying to learn how to conjugate Hungarian verbs. Nightmarish.


Ha! I remember in, it must have been 1997, trying desperately to find a music store for CDs. It was supposed to be somewhere close to my hotel according to the desk clerk, but I just couldn't find it and ultimately I blamed the language and not having any idea what the word for music could possibly be.

(Have they re-opened what used to be the main men's bath, the really old one, I think it was called Rudas maybe? It was an experience going there)





Beautiful piece! Thanks.


Somehow, Budapest did appear most lost even deflated. Maybe it missed running its own kind of GDR charm campaign, or lacked that ironic ambivalence all together?


A friend of mine lived in Budapest in the Wild West days of capitalism in the early 90s. He tried to explain to me once the nuances the Hungarian language has for anything between 'here' and 'there'. Apparently, there are 20 expressions to describe the various stages of proximity.

He also commented on the persistent gloominess (very high suicide rates, too!) and attributed it to the heavy food. There was always the joke that 'if you want to lighten up a sauce in Hungary, you just add some sour creme'.

R J Keefe

Without saying a word about it, you have captured one of the pains of growing older.


I found the quote! It was Gore Vidal in his essay "This Critic and This Gin and These Shoes" who said of Edmund Wilson
"When he died, at seventy-seven, he was busy stuffing his head with irregular Hungarian verbs." So much for the pains of growing older!

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