Saturday, July 15, 2017

Misunderstood …

… The Judgment of Rebecca West - Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Despite its regional focus, West’s book appears to be an essentially English literary phenomenon. A complete Serbian translation, by Ana Selić, only appeared in 2004, and the book is not widely read in the Balkans. Yet it continues to describe these countries and peoples in precise and compelling ways. During my own travels, I was delighted to see that West’s poetic description of the River Drin in Struga, Macedonia — “as much brighter than water as crystal is than glass” — remains perfectly apt. In Belgrade, I walked through Kalemegdan Park, lined by the carved “busts of the departed nearly great” enumerated in West’s tome. In Sarajevo, the dress of my Bosnian friend had already been described for me: a “silk overall striped in lilac and purple and dull blue.”

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