“Politika”, 17 May 2003
Milorad Pavic: From the Myth and Byzantium to the present
SECRET OLDER THAN TRUTH
With the writer of grand prose, world famous, great supporter and keeper of Secret, when everything is revealed...
Proclaimed to be the writer of the XX century, great postmodern writer, “undeniable wonder” who came into Serbian literature by unknown fantastic paths, Milorad Pavic does not cease to surprise and enchant his numerous readers, his passionate followers. Only two days ago “Dereta” publishing house presented the new androgynous edition of the “Khazars’ Dictionary”, which means the unified version of it, as well as “Two Fans from Galata and Other Stories” the fifth book in the collection “The Most Beautiful Stories of Milorad Pavic” . It was preceded by “The Story About Grass and Other Stories”, “Cesarean Section and Other Stories”, “The Door of Dreams and Other Stories” and “Nine Rains and Other Stories”. Together with the cult book “Khazars’ Dictionary”, let us remind about the other famous titles of Pavic’s novels: “Landscape Painted in Tea” , “Inner Side of the Wind”, “The Last Love in Constantinople”, “The Writing Box”, “Star Cloak”, “Seven Deadly Sins”.
Starting in the 60’s with poetry (“Palimpsests”, “Moon Stone”) Milorad Pavic (1929) created a lavishing prose work, wonderful poetic prose. He is the creator of fantastic language abundance, surprising solutions, amazing metaphors, images and scenes.
The writer of centuries, from Byzantium and Myth to the present day, academician Milorad Pavic, the great master of story, famous novelist and playwright, acquired world wide fame. Translated about one hundred times, in separate books, in different languages, so much that he himself says that instead of his biography he can write just his bibliography.
Serbian Academy of Science and Art is facing the election of the new members. What is your opinion on that?
I will tell you who I am going to propose and you can have my answer out of that. That goes for my choice, and for the rest you will have to ask my esteemed colleagues at the Academy. My candidates are the writers: Svetlana Velmar Jankovic, Goran Petrovic and Radovan Beli Markovic, and literature experts Doctor Sava Damjanov of Novi Sad University, and Aleksandar Petrov of Belgrade University, as well as several others, having in mind that the Academy needs linguists too.
At the time when everything tents to be fully revealed, you are a supporter of secret?
A writer must do so. Secret is older than truth.
You are among the rare ones who express great respect and open admiration of female writing. Didn’t female writing influence your work in terms of dualism, the confrontation of female and male and didn’t the female element in a certain way win (let us take the example of Lilit and Adam)?
I do love reading the works of foreign and our female writers. To mention just a few of them like Neda Todorovic, Sanja Domazet, Svetlana Velmar, Jasmina Mihajlovic, Isidora Bjelica, Silvija Monros, Ekaterina Sadur, Mrs. Tolstoy, Mirjana Novakovic, Anita Dajamant, Biljana Srbljanovic, Dusica Bengijat, Joanne Rowlings and so many other excellent writers. As for my books, it was mentioned long time ago that both anima and animus of my heroes and heroines speak through them.
What is today’s literature threatened by?
As time goes by it is more and more difficult for us to see the people who we meet every day, and eventually we end up in a certain kind of daltonism, we remember those people and have them in our minds as if they were ten years younger. As if they were still the ones that we saw for the first time. Something like that goes for the books, too. And a book keeps changing constantly, if it is a good one. That is why the new generations of readers have a fresh view on art, and that is the “test” of time. Only, I don’t see that as a threat, but as taking weeds out of the garden.
Waiting for Serbian theatre...
Because he has always been supporting the democratic forces in Serbian society, the ones leading to reforms and future, be they monarchistic or not.
You have recently written how you entered the XXI century through theatre stage. Why are you played in Sankt Petersburg, Moscow, Augsburg, New York (“Pandurteatar” from Ljubljana is coming to perform “Khazars’ Dictionary” in Sterija’s Festival), and not one theatre in Serbia plays any of your works?
You should ask them, not me. Theatre is an institution that has been dying for over three thousand years, and I am in no hurry. At one moment Mr. Cirilov wanted to stage “Forever and a Day More” at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, but then it burnt down, and Cirilov left it. This play has been performed for a year now by Chekhov’s and Stanislavski’s Hudozestveni Theatre in Moscow in the full house. “Bed for Two” will have its world premiere in Sankt Petersburg this autumn, etc. In his time, Nusic had to wait for decades for the first performance of his comedies. Why wouldn’t I? Besides, the Russians are publishing the translation of all my interactive dramas in one book these days.
Who else in the world is publishing Pavic these days?
My novel “Seven Deadly Sins’ is expected in Mexico, in Spanish. The same novel is published by the Russians. “Star Cloak” is published in Ukrainian, etc.
You have recently mentioned that you are less the writer of your published, and more the writer of your yet unpublished books. What are you writing at the moment?
I am writing the “Novel for the Children and Everyone Else”, which is going to be published by “Dereta”, illustrated by the lovely paintings of Dusica Bengijat ( I mention her as a painter this time). The novel has a story for the girls (“Invisible Mirror”) and the story for the boys (“Pied Bread”). When they are both read, they make the novel. It is dedicated to my five month old granddaughter Theodora, who became a heroine of a book before she was born.
Copyright © 1998 NJ.K.V. Prestolonaslednik Aleksandar II
Sva prava pridržana