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Encyclopedia of the Dead (European Classics) [PDF / EPUB] Encyclopedia of the Dead (European Classics) This collection of short stories depicts human relationships, encounters, landscapes and the multitude of details that make up human life This collection of short stories depicts human relationships, encounters, landscapes and the multitude of details that make up human life.

  • Paperback
  • 201 pages
  • Encyclopedia of the Dead (European Classics)
  • Danilo Kiš
  • English
  • 21 October 2019

About the Author: Danilo Kiš

Danilo Ki was born in Subotica, Danube Banovina, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the son of Eduard Ki Kis Ede , a Hungarian Jewish railway inspector, and Milica Ki born Dragi evi from Cetinje, Montenegro During the Second World War, he lost his father and several other family members, who died in various Nazi camps His mother took him and his older sister Danica to Hungary for the duration of the war After the end of the war, the family moved to Cetinje, Montenegro, Encyclopedia of ePUB Ñ Yugoslavia, where Ki graduated from high school in Ki studied literature at the University of Belgrade, and graduated in as the first student to complete a course in comparative literature He was a prominent member of the Vidici magazine, where he worked until In he published his first two novels, Mansarda and Psalam Ki received the prestigious NIN Award for his Pe anik Hourglass in , which he returned a few years later, due to a political disputeDuring the following years, Ki received a great number of national and international awards for his prose and poetryHe spent most of his life in Paris and working as a lecturer elsewhere in FranceKi was married to Mirjana Mio inovi from to After their separation, he lived with Pascale Delpech until his early death from lung cancer in ParisA film based on Pe anik F veny ra directed by the Hungarian Szabolcs Tolnai is currently in post productionKi was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature and was due to win it, were it not for his untimely death in .



10 thoughts on “Encyclopedia of the Dead (European Classics)

  1. says:

    When a lie repeats for a long time, people begin to believe This collection is an ode to the values of Literature An opportunity to contemplate, to feel, to reflect A beautiful, haunting symphony composed of religion, philosophy, folklore, living History A work that places the human being, naked and feeble as we are, at the heart of every story Our fears, our fickleness, our virtues and vices, our ability to create only to destroy Our desire to rebuild and then tear down everythingWhen a lie repeats for a long time, people begin to believe This collection is an ode to the values of Literature An opportunity to contemplate, to feel, to reflect A beautiful, haunting symphony composed of religion, philosophy, folklore, living History A work that places the human being, naked and feeble as we are, at the heart of every story Our fears, our fickleness, our virtues and vices, our ability to create only to destroy Our desire to rebuild and then tear down everything and everyone Our search for knowledge and love to an unknown endThese are some of the most beautiful, poignant stories you ll ever readI offer you knowledge and the desert Simon MagusA story set after the Resurrection of Christ Simon is a man who doesn t believe, fed up by the large number of disciples, irritated by the new belief He wants to prove that there isn t only one truth in the world but a multitude of personal truths He encounters Peter and accepts a challenge Well, he should have known betterGnosticism is a major influence in this poignant tale whose conclusion is open to many interpretationsIt was a beautiful gray November evening with streetlamps flickering in the mist Last RespectsThe death of a prostitute provides the ground for an act of rebellion as people whom society has pushed to the margins strip the graves off their flowers to cover the last residence of poor Mariette Set in Hamburg during the early 20th century, full of images of a cruel and yet strangely romantic eraIn that distant year of 1929, one approached Belgrade via the Sava Bridge, probably with the same joy of arrival as one feels today The Encyclopedia of the DeadA woman, who has recently lost her father, travels to Stockholm In the Royal Library, she discovers the volumes of an encyclopedia whose entries are dedicated to every ordinary human being As she starts reading about her father, we follow her thoughts and perhaps begin to contemplate on the significance of all of us Most of us will remain unknown after our death No entry in any encyclopedia will be dedicated to us And yet, aren t ordinary people the ones who lead History to her eternal circle What would the ones in power do if it weren t for their simple, common followers What if we come to think of the story as a parable for a troubled past, a fragile present and an uncertain futureWas that, too, a dream The Legend of the SleepersThis story is based on the legend of the 7 Sleepers, the Roman noblemen who converted to Christianity while in the court of Decius, an emperor of pagan beliefsThis story does not begin abruptly, in medias res, but gradually, as when night falls in the woods The Mirror of the UnknownFor me, this is the jewel of the collection The youngest girl of a Jewish family in Hungary during the 19th century witnesses a tragic moment of the future through a looking glass bought from a gypsy A heartbreaking story loaded with political, historical and social connotationsIf I understood correctly, there is nothing left The Story of the Master and the DiscipleA tale set in Prague with reference to Kabbalah and Mysticism and with the ingratitude of a mediocre disciple towards his gifted masterAt that moment, as if by command, the drums began to beat, as sinister and monotonous as rain Pro Patria MoriMost of us are taught that we are obliged to die to defend our country To what end In our story, a young delusional aristocrat awaits his execution His mother s sole purpose is to save appearances A tragic fable on the futility of politics, ambitions and the eternal shedding of innocent blood for some higher purpose that constantly changesWe hear terrified cries for help, then a few isolated shots finishing off one of the children And then the heavy silence of the Siberian night The Book of Kings and FoolsA harrowing story of religion, revolution, propaganda Of atrocities, despair and the never ending idiocy of humans to believe everything they re told to, to live according to their prejudiceBut I do not matter, I do not matter in the least Red Stamps with Lenin s HeadAn unnamed woman claims to be the lover of a famous deceased poet and condemns all critics of his work through a letter to his biographer.A collection about deception, misconception, futility, violence and the darkness we sadistically created in ourselves and in the lives of those we love A writer that was taken too soonHistory is written by the victors Traditions are woven by the people Writers fantasize Only death is certain and in these four sentences lies the whole essence of the blood crazed world we ve created through centuries.My reviews can also be found on

  2. says:

    Internationally acclaimed Serbian author Danilo Ki and his family lived through some of the harshest and nightmarish years of the twentieth century His best known books are the novel Hourglass and two collections of short stories A Tomb for Boris Davidovich and the collection under review All nine tales in The Encyclopedia of the Dead are stunning, highly literary and deeply moving But rather than offer observations of a general nature, I ll focus on the title piece since my heart softened Internationally acclaimed Serbian author Danilo Ki and his family lived through some of the harshest and nightmarish years of the twentieth century His best known books are the novel Hourglass and two collections of short stories A Tomb for Boris Davidovich and the collection under review All nine tales in The Encyclopedia of the Dead are stunning, highly literary and deeply moving But rather than offer observations of a general nature, I ll focus on the title piece since my heart softened and became progressivelytender with each sentence nay, I ll go further in all the many works of fiction I ve read over the years, I ve not encountered oneheartfelt THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE DEAD During his visit to Sweden at the invitation of the Institute for Theater Research, one evening following a performance of August Strindberg s Ghost Sonata, the narrator s host escorts him to the Royal Library It s nearly midnight and the building is closed but no matter his host, Kristina Johansson, flashes a special pass to the disgruntled guard at the door permitting him entry At this point Mrs Johanssen bids her guest goodnight, leaving him to conduct his visitation solo What follows leads a reader to suspect this twenty five page tale of Danilo Ki might beakin to Borges dreamtiger than Balzac realism since the library strikes the narrator as a dungeon, the guard a Cerberus and each of the rooms houses books arranged alphabetically after visits to the A, B, C and D rooms, following a premonition, the narrator breaks into a run, wherein we read Agitated and out of breath, I arrived at the letter M and with a perfectly clear goal in mind opened one of the books I had realized perhaps I had read about it somewhere that this was the celebrated Encyclopedia of the Dead The first thing he sees is the text s one and only illustration, exactly the same one he keeps on his desk, a photograph of his father taken in 1936 immediately following his discharge from military service with his father s name and the years 1910 1979 in parenthesis underneath And to think his father died just weeks prior to his Sweden trip One big reason he took this visit in the first place was to escape his grief, a futile gesture, he admits, since travel doesn t help we bear our grief within ourselves.I wish I could mail a copy of this book to everyone reading my review so the story could be read in its entirety Since this is not possible, I ll shift to commenting on particular passages as a way of spotlighting the actual words of Danilo Ki When I saw that I might go on reading until dawn and be left without any concrete trace of what I had read for either me or my mother, I decided to copy out several of the most important passages and make a kind of summary of my father s life Isn t that what we all do with the loved ones in our life that have passed on We assemble our memories into a tapestry of scenes, some vivid, others that fade around the edges, some other that are difficult to bring into focus and remain blurs, creating our own mini version of the Encyclopedia What makes the Encyclopedia unique apart from its being the only existing copy is the way it depicts human relationships, encounters, landscapes the multitude of details that make up a human life This is precisely why biographies are critically important and are frequently bestsellers Herodotus writes his highly readable, entertaining and insightful Histories, however with Plutarch and Suetonius there is a giant step forward in appreciating the details of a single human life And again beginning with Boswell s Life of Samuel Johnson such appreciation is broughtin accord with modern sensibilities The only condition something I grasped at once, for inclusion in The Encyclopedia of the Dead is that no one whose name is recorded here may appear in any other encyclopedia Ah, Danilo Ki recognizes those people living ordinary lives, so called, have their own dramas worthy of being recorded and appreciated, even honored and revered The sea he glimpsed, for the first time, at twenty five, from the slopes of the Velebit on April 28, 1935, would reside within him a revelation, a dream sustained for some forty years with undiminished intensity, a secret, a vision never put into words The Encyclopedia explicates not only the facts of his father s life, but equally or evenimportantly, his fathers dreams and visions In this way, the Encyclopedia expands out to the vistas of imaginative literature, most appropriate since Danilo himself is a spinner of language chimeras we term fiction By the same token, and in keeping with the logic of their program that there is nothing insignificant in a human life, no hierarchy of events , they entered all our childhood illnesses mumps, tonsillitis, whooping cough, rashes as well as a bout of lice and my father s lung trouble The Encyclopedia does not overlook or thoughtlessly cast aside those all consuming bouts of pain and illness Thus, Danilo s Encyclopedia even outpaces a conventional biography For The Encyclopedia of the Dead, history is the sum of human destinies, the totality of ephemeral happenings That is why it records every action, every thought, every creative breath, every spot height in the survey, every shovelful of mud, every motion that cleared a brick from the ruins That s why I have never been attracted to history textbooks too general What textbook on twentieth century history would begin to document the daily suffering of my own father who grew up in an orphanage, hit the Normandy beach the first day of D Day and toiled as a shift worker at a chemical factory for thirty years He would curse God, heaven, earth, the Russians, the Americans, the Germans, the government, and all those responsible for granting him such a miserable pension after he had slaved a lifetime, but most of all he cursed television, which, insolent to the point of insult, filled the void of his evenings by bringing into the house the grand illusion of life Quite the telling observation by a sensitive literary artist as torturous, humiliating and demanding as his father s life was over the years, the biggest insult dad must deal with is that cultural cesspool, the ever present television with its unending stream of drivel Thanks to suffering and madness, I have had a finer, richer life than any of you, and I wish to go to my death with dignity, as befits the great moment after which all dignity and majesty cease Let my body be my ark and my death a long floating on the waves of eternity Danilo Ki Danilo Ki , 1935 1989

  3. says:

    There is truth and there is faith and they don t mix like oil and water When a lie is repeated long enough, people start believing it Because people need faith The Encyclopedia of the Dead is an obvious attempt to follow in Jorge Luis Borges footsteps, and although the stories are good and mostly inventive they lie on the other plane Simon Magus is a gnostic tale with an apparent sympathy for the advocates of Gnosticism Last Respects is a flowery fable of a cocotte s interment The Encyclop There is truth and there is faith and they don t mix like oil and water When a lie is repeated long enough, people start believing it Because people need faith The Encyclopedia of the Dead is an obvious attempt to follow in Jorge Luis Borges footsteps, and although the stories are good and mostly inventive they lie on the other plane Simon Magus is a gnostic tale with an apparent sympathy for the advocates of Gnosticism Last Respects is a flowery fable of a cocotte s interment The Encyclopedia of the Dead is an ironic variation on the library of Babel The Legend of the Sleepers is a dreamlike parable of dream, life and death Who can draw a sharp line between sleep and death Who, O Lord, can draw a sharp dividing line between present, past, and future Who, O Lord, can separate the joy of love from the sadness of memory Red Stamps with Lenin s Head, which Danilo Ki called a pure fiction, I enjoyed most, it is a sarcastic story erasing the borderline between reality and myth.All the stories are united with the subject of death.Death is a final metaphysical act of life

  4. says:

    If the blurb had said Overwritten, pompous sub Borgesian spooky ookums waffle with very few discernable points then I would not have bothered to read this, but I have found out that a lot of the time blurbs do not tell the truth Somebody should do something about that.

  5. says:

    Introduction Simon Magus Last Respects The Encyclopedia of the Dead The Legend of the Sleepers The Mirror of the Unknown The Story of the Master and the Disciple Pro Patria Mori The Book of Kings and Fools Red Stamps with Lenin s Head Postscript

  6. says:

    A robust panoply of erudite stories, each plump with historical religious allusions told with a shading of mischief A Borgesian bouillabaisse.

  7. says:

    Garden, Ashes is a major favorite one of the few novels I ve re readthan twice but others I ve tried A Tomb For Boris Davidovich, Hourglass haven t really done it for me I had a similarly split reaction with this one Loved the first few stories but midway through the one about the sleepers I found myself literally falling asleep and wasn t able to enter the last few Tried a couple times but kept zoning out couldn t concentrate I might return to the last three stories later on wh Garden, Ashes is a major favorite one of the few novels I ve re readthan twice but others I ve tried A Tomb For Boris Davidovich, Hourglass haven t really done it for me I had a similarly split reaction with this one Loved the first few stories but midway through the one about the sleepers I found myself literally falling asleep and wasn t able to enter the last few Tried a couple times but kept zoning out couldn t concentrate I might return to the last three stories later on when able to read while walking so often helps me get through things I can t read while supine sedentary but they re impossible at this point to read in bed

  8. says:

    History is written by the victors Legends are woven by the people Writers fantasize Only death is certain.A vitally important book of short stories that deserves to be ranked alongside Borges finest, translated by Michael Henry Heim, and with an illuminating postscript by the author Danilo Ki himself.This review from Nick Lezard Guardian bring him back sums it up well Wikipedia sorry has a good overview of the storieshttps en.wikipedia.or History is written by the victors Legends are woven by the people Writers fantasize Only death is certain.A vitally important book of short stories that deserves to be ranked alongside Borges finest, translated by Michael Henry Heim, and with an illuminating postscript by the author Danilo Ki himself.This review from Nick Lezard Guardian bring him back sums it up well Wikipedia sorry has a good overview of the storieshttps en.wikipedia.org wiki The_EncThe title story is a masterpiece but my personal favourites were Simon Magus and the shortest of them all, Pro Patria Mori, which, featuring in Javier Cercas s Lord of All the Dead initially drew me to this collection

  9. says:

    I ve not previously read Mr Kis s work and I was not sure what to expect I read this collection in translation by Michael Henry Heim This was the first book I could obtain, and I was totally swept up in the beauty of the prose from beginning to end This collection of nine stories touches on a number of facets of life relationships, encounters and experiences Each is unique Each illustrates a different aspect of existence, including questioning the notion of divine order Everything a liv I ve not previously read Mr Kis s work and I was not sure what to expect I read this collection in translation by Michael Henry Heim This was the first book I could obtain, and I was totally swept up in the beauty of the prose from beginning to end This collection of nine stories touches on a number of facets of life relationships, encounters and experiences Each is unique Each illustrates a different aspect of existence, including questioning the notion of divine order Everything a living man can know of death Because of these differences, I suspect that each story could be my favourite on a different day or read Each provides food for thought and the language is exquisite On this read, I particularly enjoyed Simon Magus and his questioning of divine order, To Die for One s Country Is Glorious describing the final hours of Esterhazy, and the reading journey of the bereaved daughter in the title story In fewer than 200 pages, Mr Kis has managed to evoke a set of experiences and reactions that linger on in the mind Where does life end, and death begin Are the boundaries mutable or immutable We will each have or form our own private views on this question For myself, I am delighted to have read this book and will be looking to readof Mr Kis in translation History is written by victors Legends are woven by people Writers fantasize Only death is certain And now, I need to read

  10. says:

    November 1, 2012 All Saints Day Death looks very much like the ending of a book It is inevitable, inescapable, final, often unpredictable yet necessary and common to all Each human life that ends is like a book that has been read, and was loved, and is kept in at least one other person s memory For a book, its author or its first reader for a person, his her mother or someone who had loved him her most.All Saints Day is a celebration and commemoration of sequels, or the possibility thereo November 1, 2012 All Saints Day Death looks very much like the ending of a book It is inevitable, inescapable, final, often unpredictable yet necessary and common to all Each human life that ends is like a book that has been read, and was loved, and is kept in at least one other person s memory For a book, its author or its first reader for a person, his her mother or someone who had loved him her most.All Saints Day is a celebration and commemoration of sequels, or the possibility thereof, based on the conviction or hope that a life story does not end after its last page Stories are immortal Books end and people, die but their stories go on Heroes and martyrs were less potent when they were alive than after they had died In life, they were just of ordinary flesh and blood in death, they become legends which become stronger as the passing time makes themdead Death is, in fact, itself a story which can be told in many ways Danilo Kis did it here, in this collection of nine short death themed stories This triumph of the unkillable over the one who kills inspired me to create my own mini tale Death the arrogant champion was so angry at Danilo Kis for making It like just a mere prop for stories that when Kis was about to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature he died What a pain in the ass It is unlikely that Death reads, or listens to, stories Out of disdain, perhaps, to the one It cannot conquer Or maybe It is just a moron completely devoid of logic, morals, compassion or practicability It blindly strikes anywhere, anytime Thus sometimes it s horrific, dramatic, serene, brutal, senseless, sudden, silent, screaming, timely, heroic, holy, historic and even sometimes unknown Spiteful, too, for there can be no other explanation why Kis so deserving of the Nobel was not given a bitlife to be justly honored Ironically, this collection is practically a paean to Death My favorite is the one entitled To Die for One s Country is Glorious , having just read the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer his biographer briefly wonders if Bonhoeffer, on the eve of his execution, was able to sleep and having Jose Rizal as my country s national hero before his brief walk towards the place of his execution by firing squad a Spanish doctor examined his his pulse and was amazed that it was normal Here, we have a condemned man, a young count named Esterhazy I m sure he was one of the illustrious forebears Peter Esterhazy mentioned in his Celestial Harmonies, a 1001 book.On his last night, just before his execution, he couldn t sleep but pretends to sleep In the morning, he steels himself and grits his teeth to show control and outward calmness He makes sure his hands do not tremble and reins in the cowardly behavior of his intestines and solar plexus He wants to show a brave front because he belongs to a family with a glorious name and with a long line of heroes before him.A few days before, his mother paid him a last visit Secretly, she told him that she will beg the Emperor for a last minute pardon She will be there at his scheduled hanging If she s wearing black, that means she had failed but if she s in white, that would mean he will be saved at the last minute.As Esterhazy marches along the boulevard with his guards, a hate filled crowd jeers him and threw a couple of stones at him Crushed, he was forced into the posture of the defeated Seeing that his courage seems to be leaving him, the crowd cheers But then, in a balcony, he sees his mother wearing a family heirloom, an all white dress worn as a wedding dress of one of their ancestors in an Imperial wedding Immediately, almost insolently, he straightens up and shows the crowd how brave an Esterhazy he is in the face of a certain death Up to the last minute, as the hangman finally removes the stool from under his feet, he was still expecting adramatic reprieve which never came Danilo Kis summed everything up as follows There are two possible conclusions Either the young aristocrat died a brave and noble death, fully conscious of the certainty thereof, his head held high, or the whole thing was merely a clever bit of playacting directed by a proud mother The first, heroic, version was upheld and promulgated orally, and then in writing, in their chronicles by the sans culottes and Jacobins the second, according to which the young man hoped to the very end for some magical sleight of hand, was recorded by the official historians of the powerful Habsburg dynasty to prevent the birth of a legend History is written by the victors Legends are woven by the people Writers fantasize Only death is certain Only death is certain Bravery and heroism can be doubted But not Death Simon Magus, like Peter of the New Testament, was a preacher and the setting of the story bearing his name is seventeen years after Jesus Christ s death and resurrection He performs his own miracles But he preaches the exact opposite of Peter s gospel that God is a tyrant and the author of all the world s ills In a debate with Peter again with two versions it is oncedemonstrated that even in matters of faith nothing is written in stone Only Death is certain.A beloved whore dies of pneumonia in Last Respects During her burial, in a cemetery for the poor, the reader feels the valiant effort of her Ukrainian sailor lover to give her a final glowing tribute losing out to the inexorable annihilation that Death brings.In The Legend of the Sleepers three Christian martyrs lay inside a dark cave Dionysius, his friend Malchus and John with his dog Qitmir After several centuries Dionysius awakens The past, present and future assault his senses and all he could do is to ask repeatedly are these just dreams Towards the end of the story one sees Death triumphant, Dionysius still in the darkness of the cave vainly straining his eyes, vainly calling to his friend Malchus, vainly calling to John, the saintly shepherd, vainly calling to the green eyed dog Qitmir, vainly calling to the Lord his God the darkness was as thick as tar, the silence the silence of the tomb of eternity No person dies in The Story of the Master and the Disciple but one sees here the teachings and reputation of a master slain by his own disciple whom he had unwittingly misled by his own philosophies Satire at its best, and the funniest of all the pieces here The Book of Kings and Fools would get one into thinking how so called ancient books, with uncertain origins most likely mundane , are given supernatural auras and become catalysts for wars, revolutions and similar self righteous false crusades which feed Death with a rich harvest of souls, mostly innocent ones Red Stamps with Lenin s Pictures is a parody of literary critics and scholars especially those who like to pick on works left by dead writers Death seems to be an impregnable wall here and anyone who attempts to pass through it suffers ridicule.In The Mirror of the Unknown a young girl watches her father and two sisters murdered in the woods as it happens through a mirror bought from a Gypsy, another aspect of the mystery of Death, as it is roughly based on a true story like the other stories in this compilation so the postscript says.Lastly, the title story, The Encyclopedia of the Dead The massive Encyclopedia here is a record of everything about each person who had ever lived every action, every thought, every creative breath, every spot height in the survey, every shovelful of mud, every motion that cleared a brick from the ruins But what for Its mysterious compiler seems to have a central message that each individual is unique and sacred, and that we are all novel, unrepeatable masterpieces of creation.Yet Death will claim us all

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