Berlin-Hamlet is the sixth volume of poetry by Szilárd Borbély (b. 1964), universally regarded by the Hungarian literary world as one of the leading figures in the first generation of authors to emerge following the end of Communist rule:

To read Berlin-Hamlet is an experience akin to strolling through one of the phantasmagoric shopping arcades described in Walter Benjamin’s Passagenwerk – yet instead of window displays boasting the remnants of 19th-century European optimism, we pass by disembodied scraps of written text from the far more ghostly realm of early 20th-century modernity: primarily Franz Kafka, yet also including Benjamin himself, or such Hungarian authors as Attila József or Erno Szép. Paraphrases and reworked quotations from the vanished worlds of Europe in the last years before the cataclysm, particularly the German-Jewish intellectual sphere, appear in sharp juxtaposition with images of post-1989 Berlin frantically rebuilding itself in the wake of German unification (more...)

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