Cyclops (The Margellos World Republic of Letters) by Ranko Marinkovic

By Ranko Marinkovic

In his semiautobiographical novel, Cyclops, Croatian author Ranko Marinkovic recounts the adventures of younger theater critic Melkior Tresic, an archetypal antihero who comes to a decision to starve himself to prevent combating within the entrance strains of global conflict II. As he wanders the streets of Zagreb in a near-hallucinatory kingdom of paranoia and malnourishment, Melkior encounters a colourful circus of characters—fortune-tellers, shamans, actors, prostitutes, bohemians, and café intellectuals—all dwelling in a delicate dream of a society approximately to be replaced forever.

A seminal paintings of postwar japanese ecu literature, Cyclops reveals a little-known viewpoint on global struggle II from in the former Yugoslavia, one who hasn't ever earlier than been on hand to an English-speaking viewers. Vlada Stojiljkovic's capable translation, stronger by means of Ellen Elias-Bursac's insightful modifying, preserves the outstanding brilliance of this riotously humorous and densely allusive textual content. alongside Melkior's trip Cyclops satirizes either the delusions of the righteous army officers who feed the nationwide bloodlust in addition to the wayward intellectuals who think themselves to be above the disagreeable realities of overseas clash. via Stojiljkovic's clear-eyed translation, Melkior's peregrinations show how historical past occurs and the way the person attention is swept up within the tide of political occasions, and this can be complete in a method that may resonate with readers of Charles Simic, Aleksandr Hemon, and Kundera.

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The two pairs of hands symbolize the forces inimical to the soul in the town of N. and the domain of Sobakevich. " 33 Sobakevich's misanthropy, therefore, may now be seen in a significantly different light. His "masculinization" of females denotes his contempt for the human soul, and this explains his contempt for people, his inability to recognize a human personality behind the fagades of flesh and muscle, which is foreshadowed in chapter four by Nozdryov's riposte to SOBAKEVICH 25 Chichikov: "It is quite impossible to speak to you as one would to a friend.

A further development of this motif is discernible in his later SOBAKEVICH 27 remark about his serfs: "Mine are like juicy nuts" (102). Magarshack renders the phrase chto yadryonyy orekh: "as sound as a bell," 39 and this translation captures the normal force of the expression, but its inadequacy in the present instance is selfevident. Like Gogol's proverbs, the popular sayings that he employs, can rarely be replaced by foreign equivalents without loss of revealing allusions. The image of "juicy nuts," like the image of wheat, alludes to the coexistence in Sobakevich's serfs of physical health and infirmity of the soul; and we may confidently assume that the same allusion applies as Chichikov muses during the negotiations: «.

His claim that one of his daggers signed "Made by Saveliy Sibiryakov" is Turkish [75]), they are exposed by their sheer blatancy as simply another form of provocation, as a challenge to the "stasis" of rules and regulations. Their purpose is revealed by another expressive proverb which, like the proverb quoted earlier, was excluded from the final redaction for the apparent reason that it alluded too explicitly to the dominant symbolic theme of Nozdryov's portrait: ". . the more stupid and senseless the game [dich'], the more marksmen it attracts" (729).

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