Trevor Steele on original Esperanto novels

Trevor Steele summarizes the importance and achievements of Esperanto literature in this lecture in English, given in Sydney, 2 June 2013:

Romanoj en Esperanto, prelego de Trevor Steele

Following a general orientation to the subject, Steele summarizes the content of historically key original novels of varying quality written in Esperanto, with English translations of snippets of each.  The novels summarized are:

Ivan Ŝirjaev: Sen titolo (Without a Title 1903/1919, 1995)
Henri Vallienne: Ĉu li? (Was it Him?, 1908)
Heinrich August Luyken: Pro Iŝtar (For Ishtar, 1924)
Hendrik Jan Bulthuis: La vila mano (The Shaggy Hand, 1928)
Julio (Gyula) Baghy: Hura! (1930)
Sándor Szathmári: Vojaĝo al Kazohinio (Voyage to Kazohinia, 1935, 1941, 1958)
Raymond Schwartz: Kiel akvo de l‘ rivero (Like Water in the River, 1962)
Vladimir Varankin: Metropoliteno (The Underground Railway, 1933)
John Islay Francis: La granda kaldrono (The Great Cauldron, 1978)
Anna Löwenstein: La ŝtona urbo (The City of Stone, 1999)

Steele mentions but skips over Jean Forge (Jan Fethke), István Nemere, Stellan Engholm, and Cezaro Rossetti.

In this treatment of Szathmári's Vojaĝo al Kazohinio, Steele quotes from William Auld's commentary (in English translation).

Steele's characterizations of these novels are useful. Among the authors listed Baghy is iffy as a novelist. Löwenstein is fairly new on the scence and I have not read her work. Some of the early Esperantist writers are rather mediocre, thematically, as you can see. Schwartz, though known mainly as a humorist, did write a serious novel, and from what I call it take be taken as serious fiction, though I did not see it as adding up to much philosophically. But Steele does include three of the most important fictional works written in Esperanto, those of Varankin, Szathmári, and Francis. He does not mention that the novels of Szathmári and Varankin are available in English translation.

The bad novels had to be mentioned for historical reasons. There, however, many good and a few excellent fiction writers not mentioned in this talk. Among the most profound is (1931-1981), whom I will discuss in my next post.

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