The Greatest Literary Works

literary works documentation. essay on literature. student paper. etc

Milorad Pavic: Author of the experimental novel 'Dictionary of the Khazars'

Written by eastern writer on Monday, April 25, 2011

A dictionary is a book that, while requiring little time every day, takes a lot of time through the years." So noted Milorad Pavic in his all-absorbing Dictionary of the Khazars (1982). This was no plain historical work about a vanquished 10th-century Caspian race. Subtitled "a lexicon novel in 100,000 words" it is divided into three sections, each arranged as a reference work, one overlapping with another so that time and space take further, even limitless twists across hundreds of years. It incorporates fable, myth, romance, a sabre manual, etymology, science, lute music, history – and purported history.

All this Pavic regarded as a form of autobiography. What's more, it appeared in "male" and "female" versions, which differed by one paragraph, almost making readers complicit in two deaths. To say any more would give the game away, but Pavic himself imagined readers chancing to meet, variant copies to hand, in a café, after which "I see how they lay their dinner out on top of the pillar box in the street and how they eat, embraced, sitting on their bicycles".

It was greeted internationally as post-modern, magic realist and, in Paris Match, as the first novel of the 21st century. It equally recalled Tristram Shandy and The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor, and anticipated David Lynch, while some call it the thinking man's The Name of the Rose. Either way, it is far from the social realism of post-war Belgrade.

Born there in 1929 ("sign Libra, Ascendant Scorpio, Aztec horoscope, Serpent"), Pavic came from a family of writers which went back several centuries, a trend bucked by his father, Zdenka, who became a sculptor and married a professor of philosophy, Vera. Pavic was always conscious of his Serbian ancestors' fate: in the 17th century they were compelled into adopting Roman Catholicism, from which they converted back to Orthodox Christianity; but they were left with an unsettled identity, a state which underpins his great novel.

In the Thirties, Pavic was greatly influenced by an uncle who was a poet, and delighted in learning French at Belgrade Grammar School; at the city's university he began to translate Pushkin. His inclinations, however, ill-suited officialdom's decrees: Serbian history, and Classical and Baroque literature, were "unsound" in Communist eyes.

He wrote little for a decade. Instead, married with two children, he had stints on Radio Belgrade and in a publishing house until, after gaining a PhD, he became a professor at the University of Novi Sad from 1974 to 1982. He then spent a decade at the University of Belgrade. During this time he wrote stories, poems and a history of Serbian literature, most of which went untranslated.

He had also worked for five years on his Dictionary of the Khazars. Its three sections (red, yellow, green) are each a version – Christian, Jewish, Muslim – of an encyclopaedic dictionary which purports to have been prepared by three 17th-century students. Each dictionary, in treating the same and similar subjects, incorporates a demon (including one whose breasts yield black milk), and, amid the limitless plots which derive from these triads, such sinister turns include one copy of the original, fugitive work containing poison. What's more, some of three 20th-century scholars, also of those three races, will meet a sorry end in 1982.

Such a narrative can be as readily browsed; the reader "can use his right eye as a fork, his left as a knife, and toss the bones over his shoulder," said Pavic. Suffused with dreams, often bringing reality in their wake, its observations include "a woman without a behind is like a village without a church", while "thoughts expire on contact with words as quickly as words expire on contact with thoughts". Elsewhere, "she kisses him quickly, so hastily that he accidentally feels her breasts, like a compote of pears under her dress" while, hanging outside a shop, some exotic fruit "releases voices that sound like a chaffinch". One paragraph is a story in itself: above water "he wrote in his cage by using his teeth to cut letters into the shell of a crab or a turtle, but since he did not know how to read what he had written, he dropped the animals back into the water, never knowing what messages he was sending out into the world... he died dreaming of salty female breasts in a gravy of saliva and heartache".

Inspired by a Swiss review of the novel, Pavic semi-revisited it in a more awkward play – Theatre Menu (1997) – which could be acted in nine forms. His novel Landscape Painted with Tea (1990) partly concerns wartime Belgrade and works in a crossword-puzzle format; with Last Love in Constaninople familiarity with Tarot cards is handy, and Inner Side of the Wind (1993) is a variant upon Hero and Leander, told from each viewpoint.

Although of no political party, on retirement in 1992 he was preoccupied by the Serbs' fate in a decade which, he felt, made them a further victim of Western Christianity. As for his novel, full of libraries, it has suffered from the collapse in English public-library stocks: dismayingly, there are no copies throughout Sussex.

Christopher Hawtree

Milorad Pavic, writer: born Belgrade 15 October 1929; married 1957 Brenka Basta (one son, one daughter); died Belgrade 30 November 2009. [independent.co.uk]

Related Posts by Categories



  1. 47 komentar: Responses to “ Milorad Pavic: Author of the experimental novel 'Dictionary of the Khazars' ”

  2. By Anonymous on March 7, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    Your mode of telling all in this paragraph is in fact fastidious, every one be able to simply be aware of it, Thanks a
    lot.

    Also visit my homepage :: free online movies
    My web page > let me watch this

  3. By Anonymous on March 10, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    Excellent post. I'm dealing with many of these issues as well..

    My site: great golden retrievers dogs stuff

  4. By Anonymous on March 10, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Great website. Lots of useful information here.
    I am sending it to several pals ans additionally sharing in delicious.

    And naturally, thanks on your effort!

    my page: iarticle.net
    my web page > iarticle.net

  5. By Anonymous on March 11, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    What's up, just wanted to mention, I liked this article. It was practical. Keep on posting!

    Have a look at my weblog: excellent akc golden retriever dogs content
    My website :: impressive adopting a golden retriever material

  6. By Anonymous on March 11, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    I'm really loving the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A few of my blog audience have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this problem?

    Have a look at my web page :: more info on golden retrievers details

  7. By Anonymous on March 11, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Fantastic website. Plenty of useful information here. I'm sending it to some pals ans also sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks to your sweat!

    Check out my website click resources

  8. By Anonymous on March 11, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    I like the valuable information you provide on your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and test once more right here regularly.
    I am slightly certain I will be informed plenty of new stuff proper here!
    Good luck for the following!

    Here is my site ... visit for golden retrievers puppies stuff

  9. By Anonymous on March 16, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    er an hour. It's among the list of easiest computer upgrade treatments one can picture. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    Feel free to visit my blog :: facebook sex

  10. By Anonymous on March 17, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    I am really impressed with your writing talents and
    also with the format in your blog. Is this a paid topic or did you
    customize it your self? Either way stay up the excellent high quality
    writing, it's uncommon to see a nice weblog like this one nowadays..

    Also visit my web blog - additional reading

  11. By Anonymous on March 21, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    It's perfect time to make a few plans for the longer term and it's time to be
    happy. I have learn this publish and if I may I wish to recommend you some
    fascinating issues or advice. Perhaps you could write subsequent articles relating to this article.
    I wish to read more things about it!

    Also visit my weblog - www.andresiniesta8.com

  12. By Anonymous on March 23, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    Along with online casinos in the usa's consumer banking will be quick and easy. If you are certainly not in place to get a compensated buy-in, online casinos in the USA presents out two cost-free daily buy-ins that has a confirmed prize pool associated with $50! Why don't
    we observe what exactly the actual online casinos in the
    usa Zero Downpayment Benefit is all about.

  13. By Anonymous on March 27, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I'm quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

    my web blog ... good golden retrievers puppies details

  14. By Anonymous on March 30, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Hi everyone, it's my first go to see at this website, and piece of writing is in fact fruitful designed for me, keep up posting these types of articles.

    my web page - outstanding toy goldendoodle details

  15. By Anonymous on March 31, 2013 at 5:05 AM

    I visited several web pages but the audio quality for audio songs
    current at this web page is actually fabulous.

    Feel free to surf to my blog post - go4socialbookmark.info

  16. By Anonymous on March 31, 2013 at 5:57 AM

    whoah this blog is excellent i really like reading your posts.
    Keep up the great work! You understand, lots of persons are hunting around for this info,
    you could aid them greatly.

    Here is my site: more british white retriever details

  17. By Anonymous on March 31, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    obviously like your website but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts.
    A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the truth on the other hand I will certainly come back again.


    Also visit my webpage More Bonuses

  18. By Anonymous on April 3, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    What i don't understood is in fact how you're not really a lot
    more well-appreciated than you might be right now.
    You're so intelligent. You know thus significantly relating to this matter, made me in my view imagine it from numerous various angles. Its like women and men are not involved except it is one thing to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your individual stuffs nice. At all times handle it up!

    Look into my site: useful reference

  19. By Anonymous on April 4, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic however I'd figured I'd ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a
    blog article or vice-versa? My website discusses a lot
    of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!



    Feel free to visit my blog: Adfly Auto Clicker

  20. By Anonymous on April 5, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    Hello! I could have sworn I've been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized it's new to
    me. Anyways, I'm definitely delighted I found it and I'll be
    bookmarking and checking back frequently!

    my homepage: more british golden retrievers details

  21. By Anonymous on April 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Hi there! This article couldn't be written much better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to send this information to him. Fairly certain he'll have a good read.

    Many thanks for sharing!

    Feel free to visit my web page: http://www.cleberlima.com/

  22. By Anonymous on April 7, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Definitely consider that that you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be at
    the net the easiest factor to take into account of. I say to
    you, I definitely get irked even as people think about worries that they plainly don't realize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as smartly as outlined out the entire thing with no need side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

    Check out my page ... excellent golden Vs labrador retriever Info

  23. By television violence on children essay on April 9, 2013 at 6:14 AM

    What is meant here is the fact that the introduction of special educational programs and the formation of a new philosophy of TV channels and other media can contribute to the positive impact of television and media on youth. Moreover, television can potentially become a powerful educational tool, which can back up the school education of children and expand their eyesight and personal philosophy substantially contributing to the formation of truly humanistic personality of modern youth. In such a way, it is extremely important to shift the television and media focus from violent issues to humanistic values to prevent degradation of the nation and to form truly universal values in the youth.

  24. By Anonymous on April 18, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    I couldn't refrain from commenting. Very well written!

    My page: labrador retriever vs golden retriever

  25. By Anonymous on April 18, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Amazing! This blog looks just like my old one! It's on a totally different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!

    Here is my web blog ... read full article

  26. By Anonymous on April 19, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get set up? I'm assuming having a blog like yours
    would cost a pretty penny? I'm not very internet savvy so I'm not
    100% certain. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    Also visit my web-site - Golden Retriever temperament

  27. By Anonymous on April 19, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Quality content is the key to attract the people to visit the website, that's what this web site is providing.

    Also visit my web site - click for crate training golden retrievers material

  28. By Anonymous on April 20, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    My developer is trying to convince me to move to .
    net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs.
    But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using WordPress on
    a number of websites for about a year and am concerned about switching
    to another platform. I have heard great things about blogengine.
    net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress content into it?
    Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

    Also visit my homepage: click For breeders of golden retrievers information

  29. By Anonymous on April 20, 2013 at 4:08 AM

    Excellent pieces. Keep posting such kind of info on your blog.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You have performed a fantastic job.
    I will definitely digg it and in my view recommend to my friends.
    I am confident they will be benefited from this website.



    Check out my web page Discover More Here

  30. By Anonymous on April 20, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    I think this is among the most vital info for me. And i am glad reading your article.
    But wanna remark on few general things, The web site style is wonderful, the articles is really
    great : D. Good job, cheers

    Here is my weblog; fantastic golden retriever guide material

  31. By Anonymous on April 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed
    reading it, you may be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back sometime
    soon. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great work, have a nice weekend!


    My web site - Get The Facts

  32. By Anonymous on April 21, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Hello to every body, it's my first pay a visit of this web site; this blog consists of remarkable and genuinely excellent material in favor of readers.

    Feel free to visit my web page: check my reference

  33. By Anonymous on April 22, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Inspiring story there. What occurred after? Thanks!


    Have a look at my web-site: awesome http://www.golden-retriever-guide.com/golden-retriever-information/ content

  34. By Anonymous on April 25, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Hi to every , since I am in fact eager of reading this web site's post to be updated daily. It consists of good data.

    Have a look at my blog post :: golden retriever lab mix puppy

  35. By Anonymous on April 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    I enjoy looking through a post that will make people think.
    Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

    Feel free to surf to my blog post click for golden vs labrador retriever tips

  36. By Anonymous on April 25, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    There is certainly a great deal to find out about this issue.
    I love all the points you've made.

    Take a look at my page ... Additional Reading

  37. By Anonymous on April 27, 2013 at 4:37 AM

    Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It's on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!

    Here is my web blog; useful golden retriever guide content

  38. By Anonymous on April 27, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Heya i'm for the first time here. I came across this board and I to find It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to offer something again and help others such as you aided me.

    Feel free to visit my homepage :: Visit Website

  39. By Anonymous on April 27, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    I don't even know how I finished up right here, however I thought this submit used to be great. I don't
    understand who you might be but definitely you are going
    to a famous blogger in case you aren't already. Cheers!

    Feel free to visit my blog post - yellow lab and golden retriever mix

  40. By Anonymous on May 7, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I liked this article.
    It was funny. Keep on posting!

    Take a look at my web blog cool golden retriever adoptions details

  41. By Anonymous on May 8, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    It's amazing to visit this web page and reading the views of all friends about this article, while I am also zealous of getting experience.

    Also visit my weblog Cheap NFL Jerseys

  42. By Anonymous on May 9, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Magnificent web site. Lots of useful info here. I
    am sending it to a few buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And of course, thanks to your effort!

    my webpage golden retriever Yellow lab

  43. By Anonymous on May 10, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    I loved as much as you'll receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this increase.

    Also visit my blog post: Minecraft Premium Account Hacks

  44. By Anonymous on May 31, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    Quality articles or reviews is the key to interest the people to pay a quick visit the website, that's what this web site is providing.

    my web site earn money on internet

  45. By Anonymous on June 1, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Now I am going to do my breakfast, after having my breakfast coming again to read further
    news.

    Look into my homepage minecraft for free

  46. By Anonymous on June 5, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Good answers in return of this query with solid arguments and telling all
    about that.

    Also visit my site dragon on dragonvale

  47. By Anonymous on June 7, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    I leave a comment each time I especially enjoy a article on a
    blog or I have something to valuable to contribute to the conversation.
    It is a result of the fire communicated in the post I browsed.
    And on this post "Milorad Pavic: Author of the experimental novel 'Dictionary of the Khazars'".
    I was excited enough to drop a comment ;-) I do have some questions for
    you if it's allright. Is it just me or do a few of these responses appear like written by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are posting on additional online social sites, I would like to follow everything fresh you have to post. Would you make a list every one of your shared pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    my web-site :: how to hack a twitter account ()

  48. By Anonymous on June 8, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Your mode of telling everything in this article is genuinely fastidious, all
    be capable of without difficulty know it, Thanks a lot.


    My blog: freeview recordable boxes

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment. I will reply your comment as soon as possible. I wonder if you would keep contact with this blog.

Quote on Art and Literature

    "There is only one school of literature - that of talent."
~ Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)



Want to subscribe?

Subscribe in a reader Or, subscribe via email:
Enter your email here:

Top Blogs Top Arts blogs

Google