Marginalia on Casanova is the first book of the epic ten volume St.
Orpheus Breviary which, as Csaba Sík noted, “represents the greatest
enterprise in scope, in worth? – undertaken in the Hungarian novel.”
As Szentkuthy’s Virgil, St. Orpheus is an omniscient poet who guides
us not through hell, but through all of recorded history, myth,
religion, and literature, albeit reimagined as St. Orpheus
metamorphosizes himself into kings, popes, saints, tyrants, and
At once pagan and Christian, Greek and Hebrew, Asian and European, St.
Orpheus is a mosaic of history and mankind in one supra-person and
veil, an endless series of masks and personae, humanity in its
protean, futural shape, an always changing function of discourse,
text, myth, and mentalité.