Viktor Horváth est né en 1962 à Pécs. Entre 2003 et 2006, il a étudié pour son doctorat à l’université de Miskolc. Depuis 2003, il enseigne la théorie de la structure poétique et l’histoire de la forme aux temps médiéval et post médiéval à l’université Pécs. Il est aussi traducteur de textes en anglais, en allemand et en espagnol. Son guide Át avagy New York-variációk (en français, litt. : « À travers d’autres variations de New York ») a été publié en 2004.
Translated by Judith Sollosy
The weeks went by, the giaours’ Christmas, when they celebrate the prophet Jesus’ birthday (may round-eyed houris pamper Him in Allah’s orchards!) had come and gone, and I was still suffering because of Sudabé, thinking how I might catch a glimpse of her countenance at last. Meanwhile, after late night prayers, I continued peeling away at the wall by the light of a candle in that bare room. The erring bishop had left many books behind, so Dervish bey ordered Sejfi to instruct me in Latin and rhetoric, but Sejfi was too caught up to check if I’d done the lessons from the Koran he’d marked out for me. The scribe Gergely was supposed to teach me to write Latin and Hungarian, but I ran away from him and hid behind the church with the Serbs. And all the while Ferruh saw the plaster gradually peeling away on the wall behind the heap of straw. Also, my foster father never noticed that I wasn’t learning anything. He was too preoccupied running after all those many alterations waiting for him in the surrounding areas, and in town too.
The castellan was a veteran janissary. His name was Ali, and he bagged fifty silver akche a day. Anyway, on one occasion I saw this dizdar prepare to visit the town, so I went up to him and lied that the bey ordered me to go with him and chose a cat and buy it, and he’d give Ali the price afterward. Ali dizdar believed me and had one of his men accompany me round the great market while he visited the meat surveyors and the market supervisors. But there were no cats to be had at the market, so we returned empty handed. The minute we walked through the castle gate I ran off, and the castellan went to tell the bey that he could not purchase a cat, alas. That’s how ignorant and wicked I was.