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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 64 | volume XII | January-February, 2009



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 64January-February, 2009

Where Do You Stand While You Create Your Work?

p. 1
Jasna Koteska

For decades, in a trance we have been repeating to our students at literature classes a set mantra, that we have the best literature in the world. Still, when they open the world canon, our students see that our literature is nowhere to be found; so, we are lying to them. The world canon is not to blame that we are not part of it. They can hardly wait for literature that will be universally accepted, so that they sell it and study it. When I am asked at my literature classes: “Why should I read Kole Nedelkovski instead of Victor Hugo, I admit that have no esthetic, but rather a national response. But my students do not need such an answer. They already come as carriers of this culture, they do not need somebody to additionally rub their noses with the national issues. They only have honest questions if there is a Macedonian that would make them stay awake by five in the morning as Dostoyevsky does. What would you answer them?
    When I read that the reason that we are not in the world canon is that we have not been adequately translated, it is simply not true. All of the more significant poets of the first five poetic generations in Macedonia have been translated at least to Serbian and Slovenian, and some of their work to English, German French, Russian. It is enough for some beginning, but still we do not communicate with the world. This is to some extent also valid for the prose, with a reserve that prose is more “robust” so it is technically more complicated for translation. However, many of the most significant Macedonian writers have been translated abroad, sometimes in several editions and with new works. And still they do not communicate with the world.
    When we say that the world has not accepted us because we are a small culture, it is also incorrect. At least half of the best world literature was born in an agonic battle with the big languages and scenes. Kafka is an example – a Prague Jew who spoke German, tell me which scene he automatically belonged to, the Austro-Hungarian, Jewish, or the German? Which culture did he have to identify himself with for the world canon to accept him? The thing is that Kafka used to write as a dismantler of ideologies, systems, values, great languages and

"Blesok" editions 01-93 are also available at CEEOL web site.

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