Miklós Szentkuthy: Fekete Reneszánsz (Black Renaissance)

The latest addition to my website is Miklós Szentkuthy‘s Fekete Reneszánsz (Black Renaissance). This is the second in his St Orpheus Breviary series. It has not yet been translated into English (I read it in French) but will be appearing from Contra Mundum Press in the not too distant future. Nominally about Claudio Monteverdi, his opera L’incoronazione di Poppea and Venice, these three scarcely make an appearance as Szentkuthy romps through various parts of European intellectual history, including Tacitus (Monteverdi’s source for information on Poppea), Tiberius, Empress Theodora and the man she hid for twelve years Anthimus, Pope Sixtus IV, the architect Filippo Brunelleschi and Roger Ascham, tutor to the future Elizabeth I. How are these people connected? All too often they are not but this does not stop Szentkuthy setting off on innumerable tangents to tell their stories and to make his point about the dualities in European intellectual history. It is enormous fun and full of great learning, if you can keep up with him.

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