Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West

By Rebecca West

Well known as West's such a lot distinctive nonfiction paintings, this publication describes the author's travels to Yugoslavia together with her husband in 1937--a trip overshadowed through the growing to be inevitability of the second one global warfare.

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Thus, at the almost exact midpoint of the book, West has arrived at a stage where she approves of King Alexander Kara georgevićs, who had hoped at the beginning of the First World Warnot for a Yugoslavia, not for a union of all South Slavs, but for a Greater Serbia that should add to the Kingdom of Serbia all of the Austro-Hungarian territories in which the majority of the inhabitants were Serbs, that is Slavs who were members of the Orthodox Church. The school of thought to which he belonged rightly considered the difference between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches so great that it transcended racial or linguistic unity.

It may be significant that her only allusion to her beloved Proust is to a passage where he reflects on how with age one’s body ceases to be oneself and turns into an enemy. She is dissatisfied for discrepant reasons with all the men in her life. (The few references to H. G. ) Nonetheless, she can be funny about men (Macedonian Albanians have trousers that are always on the point of falling down, “and to make matters psychologically worse they are of white or biscuit homespun heavily embroidered in black wool in designs that make a stately reference to the essential points of male anatomy.

Byron in Greece had a comparable experience, of simultaneous exaltation and disillusionment, and even as West was making her way through the Balkans, English volunteers in Spain were uttering slogans about Madrid and Barcelona that they would have felt embarrassed to hear themselves echo for London or Manchester. Many of them were to return disappointed, too. “The enormous condescension of posterity” was the magnificent phrase employed by E. P. Thompson to remind us that we must never belittle the past popular struggles and victories (as well as defeats) that we are inclined to take for granted.

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