From the Former Yugoslavia


ImageBefore my trip to Cologne and Belgrade, I’ve been reading novels and books of stories by authors from the former Yugoslavia, a somewhat haphazard group of texts all translated from the same language but now, in the years after the civil wars, bearing regional signifiers. Bazdulj’s “The Second Book,” for instance, has been translated “from the Bosnian.” Albahari’s books have been translated “from the Serbian.” Kis’ books are listed as “originally published in Serbian,” although “Psalm 44” was “published in Serbian by Globus, Zagreb, 1962.” (The publishers of this handsome Dalkey Archive book might want to rethink the Serbian novel published in Croatia — when it was published in Zagreb, it was part of Yugoslavia and the language was Serbo-Croatian.) Pavic’s book was, it says, translated “from the Serbo-Croatian.” Velikic’s books were translated “aus dem Serbischen.”

And, of course, Zarko’s books are in their mother tongue, which I think Zarko would now, sorrowfully and hesitantly, call Serbian. His halves of our two books will say “translated from the Serbian.”

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
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