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Review: Camp Notebook, by Miklós Radnóti

Modern Poetry in Translation no. 21, September 2003, ‘Looking Eastward’

Radnóti was murdered by the Nazis in 1944, his body being exhumed from a ditch after the war and the notebook with poems found in his pocket. Camp Notebook reproduces this holy text of twentieth-century poetry in facsimile, together with transliteration of the Hungarian and of course, the English translation. The versatile translator Francis Jones, whose translations from Dutch and from Serbo-Croatian are well known, has produced formally mimetic versions which yet manage to convey the immediacy of these short poems with, one feels, few semantic compromises.