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Marina Rojavin
(610) 328-8199

Department of Modern Languages
and Literatures

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Volume I, Spring 2009

Editor's Note

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in a family where music was the way of life and he performed when he was nine and thereafter, he continued his musical studies playing piano, violin and organ. However, he could not help but write music and the world recognized him as one of the greatest composers of all time. Russian diplomat Aleksandr Griboedov began writing comedy early and created a number of works, but his fame came after he wrote the comedy Woe from Wit - a satire on the Russian society of the 30's of the 19th century, the reflection of his insight and judgment of the society. Arabian Nights, written and gathered long ago, inspired and continue stimulating many artists from various fields to produce their own works. Chinese philosopher Chuang-tzu dreamed he was a butterfly, flit-flittering about carefree; on waking he wondered whether he really was the butterfly dreaming he was Chuang-tzu. What is your dream?

The Muse of Italian humanist Francesco Petrarca was a woman known as Laura, with whom he was barely acquainted and to whom he devoted his sonnets, which inspired many poet-followers. One of the most famous paintings of Spanish artist and sculptor Pablo Picasso, Guernica, portrayed the Spanish Civil War of 1937, depicted the brutality of war and invoked controversial feelings. Murasaki Shikibu (c. 973-c. 1014) received an education in classical Chinese language and literature from her father, despite the fact that such education was not appropriate for women at the time. She used her knowledge to write The Tale of Genji, often considered the world's first novel. Alexandre Dumas was captivated with his historical novels and the Musketeers became international heroes; at the same time, the writer was passionate about cuisine and composed his famous Grand Dictionnaire de cuisine. The world is varied.

A spring of inspiration could be all around - you have to see it and make use of it. One person can find it at an early age, another later, in poetry or philosophy, in music or drawing. Do not wait for the Muse - she will not come until you yourself begin creating art. Seek and ye shall find.

The first issue of Voyages features a small but bright collection of creative works of poetry, prose sketches and literary translations. The reader will also find excerpts from a philosophical essay and notes about celebrating the new year in Tunisia. The authors of Voyages are students with various majors or minors, who learn languages at Swarthmore College. In addition to the works of students, you will read some translations by Sibelan Forrester, Professor of Russian.

Many thanks to all the students, faculty and staff of the Language Resource Center who supported the idea of the journal - to their enthusiasm, dedication and passion when the first issue of Voyages was brought to life.

Bon voyage!

Marina Rojavin