Sunday, 23 October 2011

La guzla

Internet archive
Prosper Mérimée was the author of La Guzla, ou Choix de poesies illyriques, recueillies dans la Dalmatie, la Bosnie, La Croatie et l'Hertzegowine (1827), which sometimes pops up in relation to vampire literature.

According to Wikipedia, 'It was presented as a collection of translations of folk ballads narrated by a guzlar (gusle player) Hyacinthe Maglanović'. Or, so it seemed.

The ballads were actually made up—by Mérimée, himself. Dragutin Subotić noted, 'A detailed account of Prosper Mèrimèe's literary fraud is to be found in the excellent work of V. M. Jovanović'1, namely, Voyslav M. Yovanovitch's « La guzla » de Prosper Mérimée, étude d'histoire romantique (1911). Thanks to the wondrous Internet archive, you can read it, yourself. If you read French, of course.

Oh, and you can get Mérimée's 1827 work through the Internet archive, too, via Google books. Gotta love the 'net!

1. D Subotić, 'Serbian popular poetry in English literature', The Slavonic Review, vol. 6, no. 16, 1927, p. 153.

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