Invisible Story (1943) was the first, and also the only, volume of essays that Béla Hamvas saw published while he was alive. As his widow, Katalin Kemény puts it: it is a real story of “the first and last soul” in the face of the history of raging appearance. An enthrallingly precise work of writing: an essay in terms of form, though ‹perhaps needless to say‹ that precision is not inspired by science but poetry. And the essayist, as Hamvas himself aptly says, proceeds in unknown country, “alone, rudderless, on the open sea.”
And what does it feel like to be a school student visiting the DDR on an exchange programme in 1967? Don’t even ask; it would be hard to put into words, almost impossible, I would barely be able to evoke it, even though to this day I still carry in my nose the smell of springy linoleum. I never had the slightest intention, of course, of recounting any of that to anyone, and you can take my word that I would not have burdened you with any of it had not one of those accidents of fate placed in my hands those pictures of me as an adolescent exchange student. But since they did fall into my hands, I had little choice but to show you the whole thing, just as it is.