Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Kiuj Semas Plorante

Author: David Poulson
Published on: February 4, 2000

URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT!

Due to changes in my personal circumstances I may soon be unable to produce any more articles for the Esperanto Topic. If anyone reading this would like to take over from me as Contributing Editor, I would be grateful if they could get in touch so that we can begin to consider how to effect a changeover if necessary. Thank you.

I would also welcome offers from anyone who would like to write, either wholly or in part, an article about something or somebody related to Esperanto. _________________________________________________________

In this Topic article, I want to draw together some loose threads which relate to matters raised during the previous two topics and the discussions to which they gave rise.

Rik Dalton let us know the title of his favourite Esperanto novel and requested some more information about the authors and the prize it received. So let's deal with those questions first and, as you will see, other bits of interesting information will pop up during my protracted answer.

In 1980, my association with Esperanto was still on hold. (I had a "MALgranda silento" between 1974 and 1983 although I didn't "do a Kabe." But, from what I can gather, it appears that the decade of the 80's began with a surge of activity intended to ensure that when the 100th anniversary of Esperanto came along in 1987, various plans, intended to present Esperanto to the rest of the world in the best possible light, would have come to fruition.

Part of the planning related to cultural activity and the theme of the 66th UK (International Conference) which took place in Brazil in 1981, was "Kulturoj kaj lingvoj: pontoj kaj baroj." A special book on the subject was projected to appear in the series Esperanto-dokumentoj. And the international association (UEA) and many national associations planned major publications to be ready by 1987. (In Australia, for example, several people slaved away like First Fleet convicts to produce La Australia Antologio.

Every year, since I don't know when, UEA awards prizes in what is known as "La Belarta Konkurso." Contestants submit works in various categories...prose, poetry, drama and so on...and, provided that there are entries of sufficient merit, prizes are awarded to the best entries in each class.

Because my file of Esperanto does nor not go back beyond 1982, I can't be wholly sure, but I think that in 1980 a special prize...the Raymond Schwartz prize...was offered as a one-time event to the author(s) of the best original Esperanto novel. I don't think it was ever offered again because if it had been my friend and samlandano, Trevor Steele, should have won it for his long and widely acclaimed novel Sed Nur Fragmento. (Selling for only $25.00 in Australia).

What I do know for a fact is that nine authors from six countries submitted ten manuscripts and the winners of the 1980 Raymond Schwartz prize were a Czech/Hungarian couple and the title of their novel is Kiuj Semas Plorante.

The title alludes to a phrase from Zamenhof's translations of the Psalms, ("Kiuj semas kun larmoj, tiuj rikoltos kun kanto") and I am indebted for that and other information to a review by Reto Rossetti which appeared in Esperanto in April 1984. Yes it took four years for the UEA to publish it although it was announced in 1982 that it had been printed and would appear later that year. Coincidentally, the same announcement mentioned the fact that Margaret Boulton's Faktoj kaj Fantazioj had also just been printed.

Now something about the authors.

Eva Tofalvi was born in Hungary and prior to 1980 had won prizes in several categories of the Belartajn Konkursojn. Her Czech husband, Oldrich Knichal, born in 1939, was also a prize winner and, according to Rossetti, had previously published several other works, of which I can find no trace. The novel received an unqualified recommendation by Rossetti but he made one error which was picked up and corrected in later correspondence by the authors themselves. They were at pains to point out that the action of the novel does not take place in Czechoslovakia but in an imaginary country somewhere in Europe.

Because he enjoyed this book so much, Rik also wanted to know of any other works by the same writers. Well, in 1984 a slim volume (73p) called Mediteme appeared, published by the Czech Esperanto Association. It is a "mikspoto beletra" of short pieces written by Oldrich Knichal and may still be obtainable form the British Esperanto Association's book service or directly from the UEA. The original price was 4.8 guilders.

And one last item of trivia. My good friend and mentor Vera Payne, who also lives in Perth, first encountered this novel when it was the set book for an advanced course in Esperanto she taught at the San Francisco Summer School in about 1985/86. Afterwards, she lent it to me and that's how I came to read it. And, if I'm not mistaken, Claude Piron, who is one of my Famous Fifty writers and about whom I will have more to say in my next article, also taught at that same Summer School. (Vera by the way is not very well at the moment so if any of her friends from overseas are reading and would like to send her a message, her email address is: vpayne@cygnus.uwa.edu.au

You see what I mean about pulling threads together? I suppose I should really have told you a lot more about Raymond Schwartz too but he deserves a Topic article all to himself. For now, let's make do with a nicely pointed satire from the master, with the barb reserved for new Esperanto authors. Quite an appropriate way for me to sign off, I think.

Until next time

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