Third paper, final draft due.
Milica Mićić Dimovska (born 1947), Yugoslavia, Serbia.
Mićić Dimovska was born in Novi Sad in 1947. She received a degree in Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Belgrade and worked for many years at Matica srpska and as an editor of Letopis Matice srpske. She has published collections of short stories (Priče o ženi [Stories about a Woman], 1972; Poznanici [Acquaintances], 1980; Odmrzavanje [Defrosting], 1991; U Procepu [In the Cleft], 1999), the travelogues in Putopisi (1999), and four novels (Utvare [Phantoms], 1987; Poslednji zanosi MSS [The Last Ecstasies of MSS], 1996; Mrena [The Cataract], 2002; Utočište [Refuge], 2005). Her works have won numerous literary prizes, and many have been translated into English, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Slovak and Swedish. She is now retired and lives and writes in Novi Sad.
Novi Sad was founded in the late 17th century across the Danube river from the older town of Petrovaradin; the Austro-Hungarians called it Neusatz = New Settlement, though "Novi Sad" in Serbian sounds more like "New Garden." The river and the history of the city are central to the novel; Novi Sad itself is on flat land, but it is connected by several bridges to the hillier land across the Danube, with Varadin, the Fortress, and the wooded slopes of Fruška gora. Novi Sad is the second largest city in Serbia, and it is the capital of Vojvodina, the northern part of Serbia, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1918. Mićić Dimovska's rich vocabulary includes many terms taken from German or Hungarian, and the issues of Serbian versus Austro-Hungarian (= Central European) heritage and cultural values will recall what we read at the beginning of the semester in Andrić's Bridge on the Drina, except from the north-western side of the set of cultural confrontations. The novel's title, Mrena, means a veil, a netting, or a cataract of the kind that obscures the vision and frequently afflicts older people - though the operation to remove a cataract is now fairly routine, and everyone I know who has had it is very pleased with the results. "The Veil" would have been a possible translation, but in this day and age I felt that would suggest a set of references less apporpriate to this novel. Moreover, since the Danube plays such a big part in the book, the second association of the word 'cataract' - a steeper, thus rough and rapid, section of a river - is not out of place. The Danube is broad and smooth by Novi Sad, navigable for barges and suitable for rowing, but not everything is peaceful...
The Cataract comes to you in a new translation by me. This means that you are particularly welcome to ask questions about how the translation works and why certain decisions were made. (I'll be delighted to get any comments or suggestions you migh! have!)
Questions for reading:
Besides this translation-in-progress, there are several stories by MMD available in English translation; ask me if you want the sources.
Besides "looping around" to present issues from Bridge on the Drina from new angles, The Cataract raises the question of the cultural importance of the West, and especially the United States, even more explicitly than other books we have read this semester. The book replaces Irena Vrkljan's The Silk, the Shears and Marina, Or on Biography, which have gone out print, but which are in the lirbary here: if you read them you'll see many points of connection with Ugrešić and Mićić Dimovska.