He dreamt, he told me, that a voice explained to him that he was not paying enough attention to Serbian writers.

He knew that was true, he said, and determined to rectify the situation. He would list them all for the world to see (without diacritical marks, which are especially difficult in dreams):

Ivo Andric, Aleksandar Tisma, Milorad Pavic, Borislav Pekic, Danilo Kis

Zarko Radakovic, David Albahari, Dragan Velikic, Svetislav Basara, Dragan Aleksic

so far so good, he dreamt, but what of the others?

Shouldn’t Miljenko Jergovic and Muharem Bazdulj also be included, although they have become Bosnian and clearly aren’t Serbs although they write in the language that once fostered “unity and brotherhood”?

And if they are included, then also the now Croatian Miroslav Kreleza, Ranko Marinkovic, Slavenka Drakulic, and Dubravka Ugresic?

Yes, he concluded, in a dream he can still dream of Yugoslavia.

And perhaps, then, although they write in English, also Charles Simic, Josip Novakovich, Tea Obreht, and Aleksandar Hemon?

There, he thought, I have paid enough attention.

No, he told me later, I must have read them all to make that claim, and I should read them in what I must now distinguish as Bosnian, Serbian, or Croatian.

And, he said finally, who knows whose work I have missed entirely. I’ll never sleep easy again.

About Scott Abbott

Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University, 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I'm Director of the Program in Integrated Studies and former Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade), and translations of a book by Austrian author Peter Handke and of a catalogue of an exhibit called "The German Army and Genocide." More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as a watershed scientist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a corrections officer, as university students, and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett and our yellow dog Blue. Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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