The Pendragon Legend; set first in London and then in Wales, is a forerunner of a style currently fashionable, the philosophical thriller, though it combines other modes as well: upper-class comedy, murder-mystery and a ghost story with a compelling love interest. The mystical element, is diffused through an increasingly complex plot, as all threads converge in the final chapters. It is an essentially experimental novel, the fore-runner to Journey by Moonlight, Szerb's quintessential amalgamation of the romantic, the mystical and the transcendental. It is translated by LEN RIX.
Antal Szerb was born in 1901 into a cultivated Budapest family. He obtained a doctorate in German and English Literature and was a prolific scholar, writing numerous books on drama, poetry and literary history, including the still-influential "History of World Literature" (1941). His first novel, "The Pendragon Legend", published in 1934, is set in London and Wales. "Journey by Moonlight" appeared in 1937, followed in 1942 by "Oliver VII" and "The Queen's Necklace". Szerb died in the forced-labour camp at Balf in January 1945.
"A writer of immense subtlety and generosity, with an uncommonly light touch which masks its own artistry. His novels transform farce into poetry, comic melancholy into a kind of self- effacing grace ... Antal Szerb is one of the great European writers" Ali Smith
"Szerb is a master novelist, a comedian whose powers transcend time and language, and a playful, sophisticated intellect" Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian