Imagining the Balkans

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Oxford University Press, 1997 - Religion - 257 pages
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"If the Balkans hadn't existed, they would have been invented" was the verdict of Count Hermann Keyserling in his famous 1928 publication, Europe. This book traces the relationship between the reality and the invention. Based on a rich selection of travelogues, diplomatic accounts, academic surveys, journalism, and belles-lettres in many languages, Imagining the Balkans explores the ontology of the Balkans from the eighteenth century to the present day, uncovering the ways in which an insidious intellectual tradition was constructed, became mythologized, and is still being transmitted as discourse.

The author, who was raised in the Balkans, is in a unique position to bring both scholarship and sympathy to her subject. A region geographically inextricable from Europe, yet culturally constructed as "the other," the Balkans have often served as a repository of negative characteristics upon which a positive and self-congratulatory image of the "European" has been built. With this work, Todorova offers a timely, accessible study of how an innocent geographic appellation was transformed into one of the most powerful and widespread pejorative designations in modern history.
 

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Contents

Are They Different Categories?
3
Nomen
21
Balkans as Selfdesignation
38
The Discovery of the Balkans
62
Patterns of Perception until 1900
89
From Discovery to Invention from Invention to Classification
116
The Balkans
140
Realia Questce qnil y a de horstexte?
161
Conclusion184
191
Bibliography
217
Index
251
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About the author (1997)


Maria Todorova earned a degree in history from the University of Sofia in Bulgaria, where she taught Balkan history until 1988. She has since taught at several American universities, and is currently Professor of Balkan and East European Studies at the University of Florida.

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