Erika Dedinszky, 1942-2022 (English)

Erika Dedinszky was at the centre of Dutch-Hungarian cultural relations in the 1970s and early 1980s. Because she had emigrated to the Netherlands at a young age, she described translation as ‘exploiting the madness’ into which a person who has to learn a second language as a mother tongue becomes ’two separate persons in the same body’ as a result. An active cultural mediator as early as her teenage years, she published poetry in Dutch and in Hungarian, translating back and forth between the two languages: poetry, short stories, essays, and novels. She introduced Vestdijk, Belcampo, Wolkers, and Nooteboom to Hungary, as well as the experimental poetry of De Vijftigers. Conversely, she introduced dozens of Hungarian poets to the Netherlands – in addition to domestically very well-known names such as Sándor Weöres (1913-1989) and Ágnes Nemes Nagy (1922-1991), many relatively unknown experimental poets too, both from Hungary itself and from the diaspora. She also translated the works of contemporary Hungarian prose writers – the biggest name being that of absurdist author István Örkény (1912-1979). For the translation of his work, and for her translations of poetry, she received the Martinus Nijhoff Vertaalprijs (translation prize) in 1981.

Back to Dutch version>>>