Peter Sherwood

Peter Sherwood

Peter has been a teacher of Hungarian, one of the more unusual but, with some 13 million speakers, by no means the ‘smallest’ of the languages of Europe, at universities in Britain and the US for almost forty years. This highly specialized ‘day job’ has involved not only the creation of a range of teaching materials such as textbooks and dictionaries but also research on the structure and history of Hungarian as well as its closest linguistic kin, two highly endangered languages still – just – spoken in north-west Siberia.  Peter is acutely aware that relatively few people have benefited from his more narrowly academic work, so he has always regarded translation as a very important way of making Hungarian culture more widely known in the English-speaking world. His first efforts, two short stories, appeared as long ago as 1967 and although he has translated only one novel so far, Miklós Vámos’s The Book of Fathers (UK edition 2006, 2007; US edition 2009), and a book of essays by the philosopher Béla Hamvas (Hungary, 2006), many shorter pieces, including a number of poems, have appeared over the years, with some now available online (for example, a short story at http://asymptotejournal.org (July 2011), some poems at http://www.babelmatrix.org/works/hu. ‘It is a great challenge, as well as great fun, to be working now on Noémi Szécsi’s satire The Finno-Ugrian Vampire, which brings together her (and my) interests in linguistics, literature, and Hungarian society in a unique and exciting way.’

 

Read Peter Sherwood’s reflections on translating Noémi Szécsi’s The Finno-Ugrian Vampire.