Ogledi O Srpskoj Knjizevnosti.by Dordije Vukovic

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  • Ogledi O Srpskoj Knjizevnosti. by Dordije VukovicReview by: Vasa D. MihailovichSlavic Review, Vol. 46, No. 3/4 (Autumn - Winter, 1987), pp. 651-652Published by:Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2498161 .Accessed: 12/06/2014 23:15

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  • Reviews 651

    in verse prompted by moral indignation: In poems such as "A Poor Christian Looks at the Ghetto" (1943), the reflections of the lyrical "I" are to be understood as true only in a specific context of time and space. Davie's interpretation radically departs from the usual readings of Milosz's "publicystyka moralna." Jan Blonski, for example, in his contribution to a debate on anti-Semitic attitudes in Poland (Tygodnik Powszechny, 11 January 1987), used "A Poor Christian . . ." as evidence of what he called the Poles' continuing sense of "wsp6lwina przez zaniechanie," or their shared guilt for having abandoned the Jews.

    Davie's critical focus is on two specific forms whereby Milosz transcends the insuffi- ciency of the meditative lyric: the dithyramb (in "With Trumpets and Zithers") and the idyll (in "The World: A Naive Poem"). Both are traditional genres, to be sure, but Milosz, argues Davie, has transformed them into more comprehensive and heterogeneous forms than any lyric, even the most sustained and elaborate. They are thus capable of accom- modating the richest variety of experience and a shifting perspective. The disequilibrium of the lyrical, personal "I" and the nonindividualized "I" allows the speaker to participate and maintain a distance at the same time.

    Davie corrects what he considers Milosz's misreadings and slips of tongue. He finds the tone of some of his essays unattractive. He polemicizes with his Harvard lectures, "loose-jointed and rambling as they are" (p. 21). He lists Milosz and Ezra Pound in one peremptory sentence. Some of Davie's assertions are illuminating, others, provocative indeed. One could point out Davie's recurrent errors (the date of the Warsaw Uprising and the name of Aleksander Wat), correct the identification of the translator of Milosz's "Carmel," and sum up this book with a cliche that contending viewpoints striking against each other give off both heat and light. But there is more to Davie's slender volume. It is a fascinating record of an intellectual journey as one poet and thinker discovers another- through the thicket of language, through differences of critical perspective, through often mutually incompatible registers of discourse.

    HALINA FILIPOWICZ University of Wisconsin, Madison

    OGLEDI 0 SRPSKOJ KNJIZEVNOSTI. By Dordije Vukovic. Belgrade: Nolit, 1985. 291 pp. Paper.

    Serbian critic and historian Dordije Vukovic (b. 1943) has been present on the literary scene for a few years, but this is his first book. A graduate of the University of Belgrade and a member of the Institute of Literature and the Arts, he is equally interested in literary criticism, history, and theory. The book under review, Ogledi o srpskoj knjiz'evnosti [Essays on Serbian literature], conitains six longer essays. The introductory piece deals with a controversial book by Laza Kosti6, a leading Serbian poet at the end of the nine- teenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, that he wrote about an older and much more famous fellow poet, Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj. The second essay examines the literary- historical method of the great Serbian literary critic of this century, Jovan Skerlic, followed by a long analytical treatment of the novels of Rastko Petrovic. In the next article Vukovic brings to light an almost forgotten writer of the first half of the century, Aleksandar Ilic. In the fifth essay he depicts another writer of the same period, Ljubisa Jocic, not as forgotten but still considered to be on the periphery of contemporary Serbian literature. In the final and longest essay the author discusses the use of synesthesia in Serbian litera- ture from 1850 to 1930.

    The author treats a wide variety of subjects and approaches them from different perspectives. His span reaches from the middle of the nineteenth century to the 1970s. He

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  • 652 Slavic Review

    treats writers of several genres, including criticism. He also skillfully mixes pure criticism with literary history and theoretical analysis. For example, when he discusses Kostic's prevalently negative evaluation of Zmaj's poetry, he touches upon historical circumstances of the period and delves into analytical discussions of Kostic's judgments. When he surveys the use of synesthesia by Serbian poets, he discusses the purely theoretical aspects of this figure of speech, citing numerous examples and displaying the wide erudition of a modern scholar. The essay on synesthesia is a good example of breathing life into a potentially unexciting topic. Vukovic maintains such attitudes throughout, showing a high level of objectivity unencumbered by ideological bias and, with his methodical approach and thoroughness, making the essays a source of both invaluable and interesting information.

    What makes this possible, in addition to erudition and competence, is the author's impeccable and lively style. Next to Predrag Palavestra, Dordije Vukovic possesses a most accomplished, lucid, argumentative, and lively writing skill, seemingly always sure of itself and never straying into verbosity or opaque thinking. The essay on synesthesia alone is a little masterpiece, worthy of our time and emulation. This book cannot be recommended enough to all interested in Serbian literature, if for no other reason than as an example of how literary criticism can be made both instructive and pleasant to read, not to speak of its value as solid literary criticism and history.

    VASA D. MIHAILOVICH University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    INVATATURI PRESTE TOATE ZILELE (1642). EDITION ET ETUDE LINGUIS- TIQUE. TOME 1: INTRODUCTION ET ETUDE LINGUISTIQUE. TOME 2: TEXTE, INDEX DES MOTS, GLOSSAIRE ET FAC-SIMILES. By Willem van Eeden. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1985. cxvi, 811 pp.

    This is an erudite contribution to the knowledge of the Romanian language in the seven- teenth century. The Cyrillic text of these "diurnal sermons" is a translation from Greek made, most probably, through a Church Slavonic intermediary (now and then one can find Slavonic words, phrases, and even sentences). The translator into Romanian and the publisher of the sermons was Melhisedec, the father superior of the Assumption Monastery in Dlugopolje, which used to be the Slavonic name of the Romanian town Cimpulung, in Wallachia.

    To edit and describe an Old Romanian text is a difficult task. Willem van Eeden is not only a professor of modern Romanian in a renowned Dutch university, but also a profound connoisseur of the history of this language and a refined linguist. Based on more than 200 articles and books on Romanian, Slavic, and general linguistics, his work gives a complex and yet very clear description of the language of this interesting homiletic text. He offers various pertinent comments and corrections when he transposes the text into modern Romanian orthography. There are, of course, some details one could argue about with van Eeden, e.g., his reading ca sd-i poatd ia (p. 530), and also some technical oversights: for example, as it seems, the insufficiently motivated citation of pdr first from 48r/13 and then from 46r/7 (p. 734), or the stress in IZAswAO9Z in contrast with his transcription of vddaolortu. Such lapses, however, seem rare in this substantial and elegant linguistic contribution to the study of an almost unknown period of Romanian language history.

    EMIL VRABIE

    Ohio State University

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    Article Contentsp. 651p. 652

    Issue Table of ContentsSlavic Review, Vol. 46, No. 3/4 (Autumn - Winter, 1987), pp. 391-695Volume Information [pp. ]Front Matter [pp. ]Soviet Criminal Justice and the Great Terror [pp. 391-413]Vyshinskii, Krylenko, and the Shaping of the Soviet Legal Order [pp. 414-428]The Commune State in Moscow in 1918 [pp. 429-449]Mandel'shtam's Mandel'shtein (Initial Observations on the Cracking of a Slit-Eyed Nut, OR a Couple of Chinks in the Shchell) [pp. 450-470]Vodka and Corruption in Russia on the Eve of Emancipation [pp. 471-488]Subject Nationalities in the Military Service of Imperial Russia: The Case of the Bashkirs [pp. 489-502]Paderewski, Polish Politics, and the Battle of Warsaw, 1920 [pp. 503-512]Yugoslav Camp Literature: Rediscovering the Ghost of a Nation's Past- Present-Future [pp. 513-528]Eighteenth Century Narrative Variations on "Frol Skobeev" [pp. 529-539]Notes and CommentsSvidrigailov and the "Performing Self" [pp. 540-552]New Data on the League of Communists of Yugoslavia [pp. 553-567]

    Ongoing DiscussionPoles, Jews, and Historical Objectivity [pp. 568-580][Poles, Jews, and Historical Objectivity]: A Response [pp. 581-590]

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    Reference Books of 1985-1986: A Selection [pp. 665-675]News of the Profession [pp. 676]Books Received [pp. 677-681]Symposia [pp. 682]Back Matter [pp. ]