Tag Archive > Danilo Kiš

Danilo Kiš: Mittel Man

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Over 20 years ago, on October 15, 1989, Yugoslav writer Danilo Kiš succumbed to lung cancer in Paris, France. He was only 54 when he died.

Among the works Kiš left behind included a form-bending prose triptych — Garden, Ashes (1965), Early Sorrows (1970) and Hourglass (1972) — two masterworks of short fiction — A Tomb for Boris Davidovich (1976) and Encyclopedia of the Dead (1983) — and a string of dazzling polemical essays and interviews about his own work (some of which were translated into English and published in 1995 as Homo Poeticus).

Danilo KišThe early death of one of Europe’s humane and powerful literary voices was a tragedy for literature. But history suggests that the timing of the Kiš’ passing was – at least in one aspect – merciful. Kiš did not witness the engulfment of Yugoslavia in the blood-soaked tide of competing nationalisms that he so thoroughly despised and belittled.

After all, witness was at the center of Kiš’ literary works, which grappled with the worst of Europe’s mid-20th Century horrors: Nazism and Stalinism.

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