13 July, 2008

Milorad Pavić


Milorad Pavić is a noted Serbian poet, prose writer, translator, and literary historian.

Pavić has written five novels that have been translated into English: Dictionary of the Khazars: A Lexicon Novel, Landscape Painted With Tea, Inner Side of the Wind, Last Love in Constantinople and Unique Item as well as many short stories not translated to English. His uncle, Nikola Pavić, wrote in the kajkavian dialect of Croatian.

Though Pavić's novels can be enjoyed by reading them cover-to-cover, among his stated goals are a desire to write novels with unusual forms, and to make the reader a more active participant than is usual. In an interview published in 1998, Pavić said,

"I have tried my best to eliminate or to destroy the beginning and the end of my novels. The Inner Side of the Wind, for example, has two beginnings. You start reading this book from the side you want. In Dictionary of the Khazars you can start with whatever story you want. lEON But writing it, you have to keep in mind that every entry has to be read before and after every other entry in the book. I managed to avoid, at least until now, the old way of reading, which means reading from the classical beginning to the classical end."

To achieve these ends, he has used a number of unconventional techniques in order to introduce nonlinearity into his works:

Dictionary of the Khazars takes the form of three cross-referenced encyclopaedias of the Khazar people
Landscape Painted With Tea mixes the forms of novel and crossword puzzle
Inner Side of the Wind — which tells the story of Hero and Leander — can be read back to front, each section telling one character's version of the story;
Last Love on Constantinople has chapters numbered after tarot cards; the reader is invited to use a tarot deck to determine the order the chapters are read
Unique Item has one hundred different endings and the reader can choose one.
Last Love In Constantinople and Dictionary of the Khazars both have male and female versions, which differ in only a few brief, critical passages.

As such, many of his works can be considered examples of ergodic literature.

He has also written one play. There are more than 80 translations of his writing, into many languages. Milorad Pavić was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature by experts in Europe, the USA and Brazil.

In 1991 he was elected as a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in the Department of Language and Literature.

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