The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

The Anticipation of Memory

To a certain extent he took comfort in the inevitable and when they sat down to dinner he could already, a little, look upon her as a lovely fragment of his past, and he was filled with solemn emotion. Past and present always played special games on Mihaly, lending each other color and flavor. He loved to relocate himself in the past, at one precise point, and from that perspective re-assemble is present life: for example, “What would I have made of Florence if I had come here at sixteen?” and this reordering would always give the present moment a richer charge of feeling. But it could also be done the other way around, converting the present into the past: “What fine memories I will have, ten years from now, of once having been to Florence with Erzsi…what will such memories hold, what associations of feeling which I cannot guess at this moment?”

-Antal Szerb. Journey by moonlight.

Milan, Italy


7 comments on “The Anticipation of Memory

  1. butimbeautiful
    May 14, 2014

    what gorgeous prose!

  2. joannerambling
    May 15, 2014

    I liked this

  3. Robert M. Weiss
    May 15, 2014

    A precious moment held in time.

  4. Kim
    May 16, 2014

    “He loved to relocate himself in the past” – this is just lovely. I have never heard of this book – will have to add it to my TBR list 🙂

    • Kim, it’s really one of my favorites. I think a search of “Szerb” on this blog comes up with about 6 other quotations from this book. I found it by accident and it’s been one of the most inspiring for me. 🙂

      • Kim
        May 20, 2014

        Okay, so now I am dying to know how you accidentally found this! I searched and nothing by this author is in the SL County library system! Had to order it on Amazon 🙂 Looking forward to reading it…

      • I went to Budapest to see some friends and finished the novel I’d been reading on the way. So I went into their bookstore and found him among the Hungarian authors in English. I liked the horse and carriage on the cover. 😀 Happy accidents!

        I hope you’ll like it. Some friends have called it bleak…

        Remember to read it as funny, and that should help.

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