Cyclops Ranko Marinkovic, Vlada Stojiljkovic, Ellen Elias-Bursac

Series:
The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
24 Apr 2012
ISBN:
9780300181722
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
576 pages: 197 x 127mm
Sales territories:
World

In his semiautobiographical novel, Cyclops, Croatian writer Ranko Marinkovic recounts the adventures of young theatre critic Melkior Tresic, an archetypal antihero who decides to starve himself to avoid fighting in the front lines of World War II. As he wanders the streets of Zagreb in a near-hallucinatory state of paranoia and malnourishment, Melkior encounters a colourful circus of characters - fortune-tellers, shamans, actors, prostitutes, bohemians, and cafe intellectuals - all living in a fragile dream of a society about to be changed forever.

A seminal work of postwar Eastern European literature, Cyclops reveals a little-known perspective on World War II from within the former Yugoslavia, one that has never before been available to an English-speaking audience. Vlada Stojiljkovic's able translation, improved by Ellen Elias-Bursac's insightful editing, preserves the striking brilliance of this riotously funny and densely allusive text. Along Melkior's journey Cyclops satirizes both the delusions of the righteous military officials who feed the national bloodlust as well as the wayward intellectuals who believe themselves to be above the unpleasant realities of international conflict.

Through Stojiljkovic's clear-eyed translation, Melkior's peregrinations reveal how history happens and how the individual consciousness is swept up in the tide of political events, and this is accomplished in a mode that will resonate with readers of Charles Simic, Aleksandr Hemon, and Kundera.

Ranko Marinkovic (1913–2001) was a Croatian writer of plays and novels. Vlada Stojiljkovic wrote eleven books for children and adults, several of which he illustrated; translated Orwell, Swift, Golding, and Lear; and was an illustrator and painter. Ellen Elias-Bursac has been translating Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian authors into English for more than twenty years.

"Marinkovic splices scenes of dream and reality into a kaleidoscopic short history of the world, whose pessimism is tempered by dark humor."-The New Yorker