A Piece of Marble

A Piece of Marble

A Piece of Marble
Short stories, vignettes, feuilletons, notes, drama
Compiled and edited by Tamás Gusztáv Filep and Ágnes Varga
Preface written by Tamás Gusztáv Filep
NSZL–Kriterion, Budapest–Cluj-Napoca, 2014.
[Collected Works of Aladár Kuncz, II., series edited by László Boka and Tamás Gusztáv Filep], 346 pages
ISBN 978 973 26 1112 8

2 000,- Ft

Collected Works of Aladár Kuncz is a series published from 2014 in cooperation between National Széchényi Library and Kriterion Publishing House (series edited by László Boka and Tamás Gusztáv Filep). The second volume is dedicated to the miscellaneous short writings of the author who was a writer, editor and organizer of literature. Apart from writings that can be placed between the genres of journalism and literary work, A Piece of Marble also includes Kuncz’s one and only attempt at drama, a one-act play about the last day of Mihály Csokonai Vitéz, the first version of which was a vignette.

As explained by the editor in the preface, the short stories and notes of Kuncz have never been published in a separate volume before. Out of his journalistic work only those selected by Béla Pomogáts were published, and as for his short epic stories, even his admirers generally admit that they are secondary, artificially constructed and to say the least, romantic. However, these short stories, vignettes, notes and feuilletons are worth re-reading if we want to understand better Kuncz’s main work, Black Monastery: the antecedents and evolving of its prose-poetics, methods and style that crystallized later in the writer’s life.

Collected Works of Aladár Kuncz

It was a hundred years ago, in 1914,  that Aladár Kuncz, the renowned writer, editor, critic and translator, a devoted admirer of the French culture, was interned by the French authorities together with other Hungarians staying in France. It was immediately after the breakout of World War I., but before a state of war between Austria-Hungary and France would have been officially declared. Although Kuncz had been going to France for holiday for years, he suddenly became persona non grata for being a citizen of an enemy state at war, and so did his fellow Hungarians.

The collection and publishing of the entire Kuncz oeuvre has not taken place until this anniversary, but now efforts are being made to fill the gap. Specialized researchers, academic workshops at National Széchényi Library that keeps part of the legacy, and Kriterion Publishing House in Romania, that excels in the publication of the Hungarian literary legacy in Romania, all contribute to the project. Within its framework we plan to complete the publication of the Collected Works (without the translations) of the writer of Black Monastery by another significant year, 2018: the centenary of the beginning of the Hungarian minority literature in Transylvania. The series of seven volumes edited by László Boka and Tamás Gusztáv Filep is planned to include the entire Kuncz oeuvre: novels, works of small epic, reviews, correspondence and monographs on Ferenc Toldy and the evolution of the Hungarian literary science.

Each volume will be complemented by an explanatory study and several critical notes. The  last title of the series is planned to include a bibliography of the articles, studies, essays and portraits expressing opinions on the reception of Kuncz and his works.