Frigyes Karinthy (1887-1938) was born in Budapest to a poor but cultivated family. He published his first story, an imitation of Jules Verne, at the age of fifteen, and after briefly studying science and medicine at the University of Budapest, began work as a journalist while frequenting Budapest’s burgeoning café society, eventually becoming an influential member of the circle associated with the pro-Western literary magazine Nyugat. That’s How You Write, a collection of parodies of well-known writers that was one of five books that Karinthy published in 1912, established him as a popular comic writer. Karinthy wrote numerous novels, short stories, poems, and theatrical pieces and translated Gulliver’s Travels and Winnie-the-Pooh. He also hoped to assemble a modern encyclopedia modeled on that of Diderot. His triumphant recovery from the illness described in A Journey Round My Skull was followed the next year by his death, while vacationing at a popular resort, of a stroke.
The author was 48 when he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. His memoir follows him through the stages of symptom, diagnosis, and surgery. “Karinthy’s book is, to my mind, a masterpiece… . A Journey Around My Skull, the first autobiographical description of a journey inside the brain, remains one of the very best.”—Oliver Sacks, from the Introduction.