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Articles tagged "Serbian Literature"

Tito and Taxidermy, or What If Tito Had Been on Twitter?

“Furriers distinguish between a large number of varieties of fox fur in terms of color—red, purple, fiery, red guinea, fancy silver, and others.” —Svijet, 8 October 1965   1 In the year that Tito died, I rode my first donkey. A dead donkey, at that—or, to be more precise, one that had been preserved. The animal was on a wooden disk with wheels, and the man who was charging for the “rides” would push it around the beach among the well-oiled...

The Return of the Narrative: Miljenko Jergović’s “The Walnut Mansion”

Miljenko Jergović (Sarajevo, 1966) is just enough younger than David Albahari (1948) and Dubravka Ugrešić (1949)—the best-known writers both in the region and abroad of the generation preceding his—to allow him the breathing room to step away decisively from the postmodern voice that propelled the literatures of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia through the 1990s and early 2000s. The Walnut Mansion, his first novel (Zagreb, 2003), demonstrates a strong turn to...

The Death of My Parents in the Village

The funeral meal—all of the relatives and neighbors have come. I don’t know any of them. The death of my parents in the village, it played out long ago in the future. I cannot summon the memory. I cannot cry. After a long and difficult illness, the death of their eight-hour workday                                                        ...

Translator Relay: Ellen Elias-Bursac

What is your connection to the language(s) you translate from and/or the place(s) where the books you translate are written? When I was an undergraduate, my Russian professors were so anti-Soviet that they wanted us to spend our junior year abroad studying Russian at Radio Free Europe in Munich. Instead we found a study abroad program based in Yugoslavia. One thing led to another and I lived in Croatia for the next eighteen years, working as a freelance community translator...

Orkish Cornbread

The first record of Orkish cornbread is found in the journals of the warlord Ur-Agarish. The original document is lost to time, but a saying remains: "He who dodges the cornbread and sours the kraut, then cream his neck!" Obtaining the Ingredients:  The basis of every good cornbread is corny flour. It is harvested by the Giants of the Corned Hills. You will need to give the giants plenty of firewater. When they are wasted, steal the corn. But remember, the cornstalks are so...

Boutique Cinderella

“Boutique Cinderella” had a stuffed pigeon in the window with its beak stuck into a pile of grain on the windowsill, and a female torso wrapped in a silk Dior peignoir; the designer could be read on the label sewn on the hem of the discreetly opened skirt. With its lace insets, the peignoir looked like a wedding gown. There was nothing on it that would make you conclude that it was used clothing, though a cardboard sign in the lower left corner of the display announced,...

The Cover

I’m starting this diary so the days won’t pass without my knowing what I did. I live in the suburbs. I knit, embroider, and crochet. I sell everything I make at the nearby farmers’ market. Other women are there too. We bring stools, little chairs, or whatever we have. We sit down and spread doilies, tablecloths, and blouses in front of us. The needles in our hands fly through the air. Needles, hands, fingers, mouth. Fingers, hands, mouth, needles. Everything is moving,...

The Horse Has Six Legs: An Anthology of Serbian Poetry

Translation of poetry should always motivate two kinds of fidelity: adequate representation of the content and form of the original, and viability of the new version as a work of poetry. (My students sometimes refer to these as “Professor Stuff” and “Art Stuff.”) The two concerns may be addressed by teams of translators: a native speaker who knows the original language and culture, along with the poem’s place and weight within those, and a poet who is capable...

Head Weight

In all honesty, Ruben was at a loss to explain what was happening to him. He told his friends and family a story about feeling tired and drained, while he in himself saw a different sort of picture: somebody, who knows who, some huge and powerful being was squeezing him the way the last squirts of toothpaste are squeezed from a toothpaste tube. The crush of those huge fingers, the blunt thumb and the slightly angular index finger, produced so much pain at times in Ruben that, lying in...

Sentimental Education

I went out the back door of the sanatorium. Before me stretched a flat lawn bordered by a tall hedge. The early autumn sun had turned the tops of the linden trees more golden than green. Dressed in identical light robes, the patients standing or sitting on benches resembled blue statues dotted about an open-air exhibit. Nothing moved, like in a movie still. Disrupting this tranquility, I headed across the lawn toward the farthest bench on the left. The patient I wanted to see was always...

The Model

The first thing she did was remove her red shawl. Then she draped her coat on a hanger next to the podium where she would be posing. She slid off her dress; its fabric was colorful. And there she stood, with all her limbs exposed, wearing only a slip. Without even stooping she flung the tiny shoes from her feet and all at once even her lower legs were bare. In one more sure and rapid movement the last little piece of clothing was up and gone, and nothing was left covering her lustrous...

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