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Snippets of Serbian literature 3

Updated: May 6, 2021

Dictionary of the Khazars Quotes

“When we read, it is not ours to absorb all that is written. Our thoughts are jealous and they constantly blank out the thoughts of others, for there is not room enough in us for two scents at one time.”

“I dream in a language I do not understand when I am awake.”

“It is not I who mix the hues but your own vision,' he replied. 'I merely place them next to each other on the wall in their natural state; the beholder is the one to mix the colors in their own eye, as if it were porridge. Therein lies the secret. The better the porridge, the better the painting, but one cannot make a good porridge from poor buckwheat. Hence, faith in seeing, listening, and reading is more important than faith in painting, singing, or writing."

"He took blue and red hues and placed them next to each other, painting the eyes of an angel. And I saw the angel's eyes turn purple."

'I work with something like a dictionary of colors,' Nikon added, 'and from it the beholder strings sentences and creates books, in other words, images. You could do the same with writing. Why shouldn't someone create a dictionary of words that make up a book and let the reader themselves collate the words into a whole?”

Milorad Pavić, Dictionary of the Khazars: A Lexicon Novel - Female Edition

Milorad Pavić, an erudite Serbian writer, a university professor, a literary historian, and member of the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts (1991-2009), was born on 15 October 1929 in Belgrade and died. In his internet-based autobiographical sketch, Pavić himself declared that he was born on “the banks of one of the four rivers of Paradise, at 8:30 in the morning, under the sign of Libra (ascendant Scorpio), or, according to the Aztec horoscope, the Snake.” As a fiction writer, he was literally unknown until 1984 when Dictionary of the Khazars: A Lexicon Novel in 100,000 Words brought him an instant worldwide recognition. Even before, he has always entertained the idea of being “a writer for two hundred years now” because, as he said, “long ago, in 1766, an ancestor Pavić published a collection of poems in the city of Budim [Buda] and we have considered ourselves a family of writers ever since. ”Pavić received his degrees from the University of Belgrade and University of Zagreb, taught philosophy at the University of Novi Sad and at his former alma mater in Belgrade, he held classes at Sorbonne in Paris, at the University of Vienna and in Freiburg and Regensburg as well. Whilst writing extensively, he also translated works by Pushkin, Byron, Shelley, Villon and Molière and was nominated for Nobel Prize in Literature a number of times. His works have been translated into more than 30 languages and are now published all over the world.

adapted and submitted by Natasha from Angloland

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