Plagiarism between Orientalism and Balkanism: Anthony Rhodes and Bosnia

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Date: Summer 2007
From: East European Quarterly(Vol. 41, Issue 2)
Publisher: University of Colorado at Boulder
Document Type: Article
Length: 4,521 words
Lexile Measure: 1580L

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Anthony Rhodes's travelogue Where the Turk Trod: A Journey to Sarajevo with a Slavonic Mussulman (1956) and his novel The Prophet's Carpet (1961), both based on his visit to Bosnia, exemplify the fairly conventional Western European view of the Balkans as a separate, different part of Europe--quaint, romantic, and Oriental. This perspective can be illustrated with a few examples from British travel- and other writing, ranging from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth, as well as with examples from outside of literature. Writing in 1898, William Miller locates the Balkans in the "Near East" and emphasizes the difference between it and Europe. (1) In 1931, Geoffrey Rhodes also uses the term "Near East" to describe Dalmatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, (2) while Lawrence Durrell, making a trip to Bosnia from Belgrade in 1949, sees Sarajevo as an 18th-century Turkish town. (3) In The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, under the entry of "Orientalism," author J. A. Cuddon situates the beginning of the East, from the British perspective, in Bosnia and in Sarajevo in particular. The Bosnian capital, he says, is the northernmost point that camel trains could safely travel to; beyond that--he claims in a memorable if doubtful description--camels "developed sore throats, bronchitis and other pulmonary afflictions." (4) As late as 1990, Richard Bassett's travelogue Balkan Hours carries the telling subtitle "Travels in the Other Europe"; its author feels that he is crossing a civilizational divide when he turns inland from the Adriatic coast into Bosnia and "the Balkan fastness." (5) Let us add that many British journalists reporting from Sarajevo during the recent war wondered at their surprising cultural "find": the Bosnian Muslims didn't look Middle-Eastern, as they had expected, and were leading ordinary European lives.

But the books by Anthony Ewart Rhodes (1916-2004), journalist, travel writer, and novelist, (6) seem to go a step further in this view of Bosnia, developing and deepening, as it were, the Orientalist and Balkanist gaze of other Western European observers. (7) In both works, Bosnia, part of the new, modernizing post-Second World War Yugoslavia, is also seen as a still living East and a land locked into its peculiar past, separated if not severed from Europe. In his first "Bosnian" book, Where the Turk Trod, a late traditional-style travel account, Rhodes describes Bosnia's contemporary scene, its social and political realities in the early 1950s, yet at the same time he takes pains to deal with his subject anachronistically, creating a historicized and stylized image of the land he is observing. These two ways of seeing clash, producing a textual tension between the largely imagined past Bosnia and the Bosnia actually experienced. Often, this contrast between the two representations creates confusion.

The anachronistic elements in Rhodes's undertaking in Where the Turk Trod, both in journeying and in writing, are exemplified by his mode of traveling (on horseback and on foot), his reliance on older travel books, and, last but not least, by his motive for going to Bosnia. He wanted to travel to this Balkan land, which he had visited once as a child, in order to "examine Turkish remains" there (9), (8) see "a slice of feudal Europe preserved" (10), and find the answer to the question if the West, historically speaking, "had [...] not painted the Turk blacker than he deserved" (10-11). Rhodes also wanted to establish whether the adage "Where the Turk trod no grass grows" was still valid. In addition to this, especially when answering officials' questions, he offers other reasons for visiting Bosnia, as when he tells a policeman in Herzegovina that he is "travelling for pleasure, hoping to shoot a bear" (62). Rhodes visited Bosnia in the summer and fall of 1954. He took a ship from Rijeka down the Adriatic coast to Makarska, where he bought two horses and hired a guide for the trip to Sarajevo; in the Bosnian capital, his final destination, he sold the horses and sent the guide back. He apparently wanted to model this Balkan trip on an earlier one, to Italy, which he described in A Sabine Journey (1952), when he traveled on a donkey and was accompanied by a guide. Rhodes seems to have been carrying a gun for hunting, at least in Herzegovina.

There is much of the Turkish heritage that Rhodes sees in Bosnia, and much that he imagines seeing. Although he states that "there are few real Turks left in Yugoslavia today" (44) and early on identifies Bosnian Muslims as "Slavonic Mussulmen" (both of these words sound outdated, especially the latter), Rhodes sees Muslims everywhere in Bosnia as Turks--Oriental, dark-skinned people, lazily going through life (his guide Riza Ibramovic has "swarthy features and hooked nose" (21) and displays "almost Oriental fatalism," (24) or, more ominously, as "Janissaries" (78) and "bloodthirsty Bashibazouks" (91) armed with yatagans). A strange, threatening presence (Turkish and Balkan), Rhodes feels, still hangs over the Bosnian landscape. In its forests, "gloomy and silent," "there is something [of] a Balkan savageness, a rocky violence, an almost oppressive loneliness, which distinguishes it from northern Europe" (108). This strangeness of the land, if not the threat, shows through in other, more pacific Oriental moments, as when on a night in Mostar Rhodes feels that "even the moon [...] clear and crescent above, seem[s] Ottoman" (41).

Parts of Mostar and Sarajevo especially remind this traveler of the magic world of the Arabian Nights, as does his visit to the Reis-ul-Ulema [Ibrahim ef. Fejzic] and his residence in the Bosnian capital. Although he wears a western suit, everything else on and around the Reis is Turkish or Oriental--"an Arabian cast of face, a silvery beard and a golden turban" (180), as well as the courtyards, cupolas, fountains, cypresses, and roses, and even (and unlikely) vines, and fig trees! In Sarajevo, where "even the hours of rest and work are Oriental" (142), Rhodes sees older men who "still carry on the indolent, Oriental life, wear a fez and baggy trousers" (141). He also remarks that Sarajevo's "Oriental cuisine [is] incomprehensible to our palates, a mixture of oil, honey and sugar" (45). In spite of that cuisine's intense otherness, and the pervasive and memorable smell of sheep's fat in the Old Town, Rhodes does not recoil from ordering many sweets and "devouring" them with pleasure (146).

Sarajevo's women, to whom he devotes a whole chapter, also strike Rhodes as exotic, with "soft, pulpy skins and beautiful hair, dusky, half golden" (150). Although impressive-looking, they are clearly not our traveler's type: "the northerner in me needs northern eyes, hair, cheekbones"; "you could not mate me with one; I love the olive, but not the olive skin" (151). Speaking of olives--perhaps an Orientalist marker in the book--Rhodes sees "fig trees and olive groves" (133), as well as orange trees, in central Bosnia, a botanical impossibility. In the same part of the country, he notices peasants in the fields who appear to him as "quaintly dressed figures who might have stepped out of an Oriental picture-book" (133). In light of this, it is no wonder that Rhodes's travelogue ends with a significant word--"East"--which in a way defines his search for "the Moslem past in Bosnia" (188). After his audience with the Reis, Rhodes leaves, "loaded down with the fruit and flowers of the East" (188)--but hardly with figs and olives. (9)

If some of these elements of Rhodes's Orientalism have a grounding in, and a connection with, the Bosnian past as well as its present), some others, as we have seen, constitute picturesque exaggerations. His arbitrary observations are often factual errors, like the wrong historical dates, a confusion of geographic locations--he sees the Montenegrin mountain of Durmitor from his window in Sarajevo!--and language and spelling innovations. Sometimes, his errors come across as anachronisms. For example, he uses the word "gendarmerie," which was not used for police in post-Second World War Yugoslavia. He clearly takes the word over from earlier guides, like the Austrian Illustrierter Fuhrer (although he describes it as "modern," (121), a copy of which he carries with him). Rhodes also relies on nineteenth-century English travel books (J. G. Wilkinson's Dalmatia and Montenegro, 1848; R. Dunkin's In the Land of the Bora, 1897; H. C. Woods's The Danger Zone of Europe, 1911)--this last is also part of his traveling baggage--from which he occasionally borrows, including outright copying, as from Wilkinson and Dunkin. Rhodes's actual travel experience thus intersects in strange and "inventive" ways with the earlier writers' descriptions. He seems to have been one of those British gentleman scholars and travel writers for whom the experience of reading others was as important (if not more so) as personal, immediate perception. For how else can we explain such a curious an anachronism in his travel book as his admiring the old bridge (of Turkish origin) in Konjic, which he actually could not have seen, since it had been destroyed some years before his visit, at the end of the war?

Rhodes's anachronisms, borrowings, and his tone make parts of Where the Turk Trod read like an unintentional parody of earlier English travelogues about Bosnia and the Balkans. (10) His language clearly establishes his attitude toward his material: Bosnia and Bosnians are the exotic other for Rhodes in such revealing phrases like "among these people," "these carefree folk" (151), "your Mussulman" (183), "your Turk" (30), or in his exclamation while at the monastery of Fojnica: "Christianity again!" (106).

On the other hand, Rhodes also writes--and more responsibly--about seeing and experiencing ordinary, everyday things, like meeting with common people, hunting in the Herzegovinian hills, running into Yugoslav Army soldiers on exercises, and witnessing the completion of the Jablanica hydroelectric power plant, one of the results of the Five-Year Plan. Yet even here, he frequently slips into stereotyping and simplifications, as when he expresses his doubts that socialist modernization is possible in Bosnia: "For is it not very ambitious to introduce a Five-Year Plan among Mussulmans? Has not the very word, Mussulman, something defiantly backward about it, backward yet benevolent, standing for almost everything a Five-Year Plan does not?" (88).

But sometimes, in recounting all that he actually sees, Rhodes is capable of providing thoughtful observations about the culture and mentality of the people he meets. He reflects on the recent war and its consequences, and comments on contemporary politics and the nature of Yugoslav socialism. Rhodes notices a proliferation of patriots and war heroes in the country, writes of the "new paganism" under socialism and of Tito's ubiquitous picture as "a modern ikon" (101). He also notes the immediacy of the distant past in Yugoslavia, where "political and religious questions so easily graft themselves on to economic ones" (39), and points out the divisiveness caused by the two alphabets, describing the Cyrillic as "curiously un-European" (173). (11) Some of Rhodes's encounters and conversations with Bosnians, like that with the Reis-ul-Ulema, humorously encapsulate the author's ambiguous attitudes toward the old and the new, historical and modern, as shown by the pun on "martial," "Marshal," and "marshallah" (187), which playfully alludes to the war, Tito's military rank, and the Arabic exclamation of praise and approval. The excellent photographs which Rhodes supplies convey much of the raw and vivid human and physical landscape of the time. They somehow stand in sharp contrast with the author's Orientalist imaginings, and bring him--and us--back to the 1950s Bosnia. Interestingly, these photographs were taken by his brother Richard Rhodes, who is never mentioned in the text; his presence as a traveler is suppressed.

In his other observations that have anthropological or literary value, Rhodes notes that wood is the quintessential building material of Bosnian Muslims ("these ligniferous people," 109), and that water mills are the "most Bosnian of objects" (108): "[T]he never-ending gurgling of the waters [is] a symbol of Bosnia, past and present" (110). Rhodes has an eye for peppers and tomatoes drying in festoons in the October sun outside wooden houses, notices the Central European way of buttoning bed linen to the blanket, and captures the gesticulation of a Sarajevan, for whom words are not enough to express numbers: "With his hand, he emphasized these figures while he spoke, two, three, four, with that gesture so common in the Mediterranean lands, the hand coming forward gradually, the fingers opening suddenly--as if their owner were loosing a butterfly" (157-58). In another passage, in which he describes riding from Dalmatia into Bosnia, Rhodes produces travel writing at its best:

   Outside the town we passed a train of laden women and donkeys,
   surrounded by drivers, feverishly crying, 'Idi! Idi!' The women
   often carried as much as the donkeys--faggots, household goods,
   pots, pans. Some of them had a fowl tucked under each ann. Their
   men strode alongside, indolent, haughty, handsome and indifferent,
   carrying little more than an umbrella and the perpetual cigarette.

Anthony Rhodes does not answer the question about the Turks in Bosnia he poses at the beginning of the book, and we never fully learn if any grass grows where the Turk trod. His views are often self-contradictory and muddled, his information inaccurate and confusing, with facts melting into fiction and fantasy. The predominant picture of Bosnia that he sketches is sympathetic yet laced with irony; it is one of a deeply Orientalized country, alluring for an interested yet culturally distanced Western visitor. The best places in the travelogue are those in which the author leaves his stylized and cliched vision of Bosnia, largely inspired by earlier writers, and stumbles upon fresh insight and deeper understanding. These places, like the imaginative titles of some chapters ("Rain," "Goats and Water-Wheels," or "The Rose Garden"), successfully recreate the traveling moment, conjuring up the weather, a building or a landscape, a face, or a person's appearance or words. But the Orientalisms, Balkanisms, anachronisms, and factual errors in the book have a cultural value for us, too, since they reveal as much about the traveling observer and his culture as about the observed land.

Much is revealed about the author, although not as much as we would want, in the novel The Prophet's Carpet, set in an imaginary Balkan country that is recognizably Bosnia. Rhodes here uses much of the material from Where the Turk Trod, often borrowing entire passages. In this work, however, he not only borrows from himself but also from others, notably from Ivo Andric. He blatantly takes over motifs (like the country's "deathly silence," its barbarity and violence), whole sentences, and even passages from Travnicka hronika, using apparently the then only English translation, dated 1959. Rhodes copies the description of the Travnik bazaar and borrows Andric's story about the abortive love affair between Anna Maria, the wife of the Austrian Consul, and Amedee Chaumette Desfosses, the young secretary and interpreter at the French Consulate in Travnik. (For this, see Appendix.)

The Prophet's Carpet is populated by "Oriental" and other characters--Muslims, Communists, the English--who interact in a bizarre social and geographic environment, the center of which is the capital city of Blagograd, reminiscent of Sarajevo but situated on a seacoast. Blagograd is both a city and a province of a large federal state, whose unnamed capital is five hundred miles away. The Province, "a land famous for assassination" (49), 12 whose population is "a compost of Latins, Slavs and Moslems" (41), is described as occupying the religious/historical watershed between East and West; more recently, after the Second World War, it has become the ideological part of Eastern Europe. The author adds new, often confusing elements into this picture, such as having some Muslim characters bear non-Muslim names (Bizzo, Sarah, Roxane, Miron) and giving others names such as Michaelevsky and Haida Mirbadalev. In a similarly incongruous manner, the Muslim Prince Reza, eliminated by the new regime (and only part of the novel's back story), and his widow are described as members of Austro-Hungarian aristocracy as much as of old Turkish nobility.

The plot of The Prophet's Carpet follows the life of Major John Everett, British Consul in Blagograd, or "Consolo Beg," as he is known locally, and his attempts to serve his country dutifully in a land whose Communist government is unfriendly to the West. (13) Communist leader Bizzo, in charge of both the city and the Province, who worked as a mason for Consul Everett before, during the Consul's first, pre-war term in Blagograd, initially avoids Major Everett but turns to him later, as the new regime needs money to finish the High Dam outside the city. After the government sells the Prophet's carpet (the invaluable prayer rug kept in the Husref Beg mosque outside the city) to the British in order to complete the Dam, the Muslims of Blagograd riot and the Consul, who has been all along sympathetic to Muslims and their traditional ways (he is one of "Islam enthusiasts" [6]), returns the carpet to the people and joins them in prayer in the mosque. This act ends his consular career.

Unlike Where the Turk Trod, which as a travelogue genre calls, at least in theory, for more objectivity if not neutrality of narrative, and is told in a single voice (first person), The Prophet's Carpet offers more voices, including the author's, which express different opinions and attitudes. It is the voices of these outsiders to Blagograd that interest us here the most. The Balkan land is vaguely yet confidently situated in the "East" (sometimes referred to as "the Near East"), the "East" here only rarely referring to Eastern Europe in the political and ideological sense. A number of characters--the Consul's wife, the English businessman Sanderson, and Ambassador Wriothesley-Clerk--view the Muslim inhabitants as Orientals and Balkanites: Mrs. Everett calls them "barbarians," Sanderson "Arabs," while for the Ambassador they are "far and away the most uncivilized and backward element in the land" (130). Mrs. Everett loses what little emotional balance she has "in this Balkan waste," "this deathly Balkan silence" (78), or, as we read later, "in this hermetically sealed Balkan atmosphere" (188). In her case, the Balkan waste is a metaphor for the emptiness of her own life, filled with dreams of aristocratic connections, vague yearnings for culture--and longing for younger men, one of whom materializes in the person of Miron, an official from Blagograd's Cultural Department. The disease she suffers from is "'diplomatitis,' as the Everetts' clear-eyed and idealistic daughter Joan reminds her father, 'that well-known complaint which afflicts diplomats' wives who have lived many years away from England, who become more and more English.... It is as if the East has got into their blood, has sapped and unsettled it, so that it is continually crying out for Kensington and Tunbridge Wells'" (189). (14) Yet even Joan, who does not have the above affliction but tries to understand both the local people and the socialist experiment, and who dies as an innocent in the riots, wonders if progress is possible "in this land still surrounded by the squalor of the East, the land of stagnation and sloth, where the Moslem motto was still 'Time is made for fools' ... in this land where the green turban and the cummerbunded mullah still sloped disdainfully through the bazaar" (201). Significantly, her thoughts here are rendered in conventional, worn-out formulas reminiscent of older English travelogues on the Balkans or the Orient. (15)

Less harshly, and more or less in the author's own narrative voice--perhaps reflecting his soft Orientalism as opposed to the hard Orientalism of others--the people and the land are frequently given other epithets and characteristics that mark them as non-European or Oriental. Thus we learn that Bizzo possesses "almost oriental patience" (26), that Ibrahim, the Consul's interpreter, is a "likeable ... Moslem fanatic" with an "oriental imagination" (31), while another man's "manners [are] dignified, measured and characterized by the stoical serenity of the East" (125). We also find out that Muslims, except perhaps for busy Communist officials like Bizzo, like nothing better than "doing nothing in the shade, preferably beside running water" (71).

It is clear that Rhodes speaks through and for his hero, Major Everett, and the Consul's views and acts, interestingly, both reflect and question Western preconceptions about the Balkans. Major Everett has no doubt that he is serving "in an out-of-the-way Balkan town, where all sorts of strange things were always happening" (218) and that "the Slavonic Mussulmen" have "something defiantly backward about them," yet "benevolent" (131)--note the echo from the travelogue here. He also observes the people's touching belief that even the most casual foreigner, i.e. Westerner, possesses the power "to remedy the state of affairs in Blagograd" (126). Major Everett becomes increasingly disenchanted with his country's policies and loses faith in his diplomatic mission; we are reminded that he "had always contended that most of the trouble in the Balkans had come from the West, which considered that it evolved a civilisation so perfect that it was always in a hurry to impose it on everyone else" (131-2). Speaking of the West, in a scene that strangely seems to project far into the now familiar future of the Bosnian 1990s, Princess Reza pleads with Major Everett for British help in what is developing into a violent conflict in Blagograd between government forces and the rebelling people:

      [Major Everett:] "You mean that we should help?"
      "Of course. British ships, warships. A landing with troops. An
   intervention.... We all hope for it.... The new regime is a pack of
   cowards. They would retire. And the Moslems would be free again.
   Our Province would be free again!"
      The Consul nodded his head. It was not for him to criticize his
   country. "The West will do nothing," he said.
      "How do you know?"
      "I know the West."
      "You know the West! How do you know? ... Why don't you
   try? Cable through to your government!"
   "The West will do nothing," he repeated firmly, "I know the West."
   (267) (16)

Major Everett is, of course, powerless to do anything here, just as his going native is an insignificant individual act in the large scheme of things. But his acceptance of the Balkan others is nonetheless a hopeful and symbolic move, testifying to his willingness and ability to cross a deep cultural divide. The Orientalism (of the softer variant) that he displays as part of his cultural baggage slowly but inexplicably erodes, and when things come to a head, Major Everett makes his choice. But it is his Westernness, his Western background, one suspects, that in the end allows him the freedom to make that choice.

Despite occasional colorful descriptions and flashes of insight (the best being those taken over from Andric), The Prophet's Carpet is a weak novel, with internal inaccuracies and incongruities, thin characterization, and slow narrative momentum. The confusing poetic license Rhodes allows himself here was apparently not enough for an imaginative recreation of life. He especially fails to conjure up the ideology-permeated life, whether public or private, under socialism, perhaps because he sweeps so much under the carpet of Orientalism: the "East" in this novel, though inspired by a trip to Bosnia and set in the Communist Balkans, is more an imaginary Orient than a recognizable Eastern European place.

Rhodes's Orientalization of Bosnia in Where the Turk Trod and The Prophet's Carpet stems from his deliberate effort to shift focus away from the reality of the time and place he deals with, but it is also the result of his uncritical and belated use of older sources. These influenced both his perception and his writing. Similarly, his Balkanist perspective, his depiction of Bosnia as strikingly different from England and Europe, is itself enmeshed with Orientalism, offering the reader an exotic version of the human and natural geography of the country. The world that Rhodes was most interested in had already been lost, had been marginalized--or had never existed. The social and political changes he witnessed as a Western traveler in Bosnia appear only as a distant echo in his works, not an all-pervasive presence. (17) By the 1950s, Bosnia (within Yugoslavia), had acquired a different symbolic place in Western imagology, that of a specific part of post-1945 Balkans and Eastern Europe, and Rhodes provides a strange sfumato of this changed image: in the travelogue, he blurs the reality of the period; in the novel he belabors a semblance of it.


(1.) Travels and Politics in the Near East (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1898).

(2.) Dalmatia: The New Riviera (London: Stanley Paul, 1931).

(3.) Lawrence Durrell, Spirit of Place: Letters and Essays on Travel, ed A.G. Thomas (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1969) 103.

(4.) J. A. Cuddon, The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. 1977. (London: Penguin, 1991, 3rd ed.).

(5.) Richard Bassett, Balkan Hours: Travels in the Other Europe (London: John Murray, 1990) 72.

(6.) A repository of information about Rhodes has recently become the John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston College, where his papers were transferred after his death.

(7.) Two prominent studies of Western perceptions of the Balkans are Maria Todorova's Imagining the Balkans (New York/Oxford: OUP, 1997) and Vesna Goldsworthy's Inventing Ruritania: The Imperialism of the Imagination (New Haven/London: Yale UP, 1998). I thank Professor Todorova for reading a draft of this article, communicating her ideas to me, and suggesting its title.

(8.) Where the Turk Trod: A Journey to Sarajevo with a Slavonic Mussulman (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1956). All subsequent quotes are from this edition.

(9.) Vesna Goldsworthy points out that a number of English writers, including Lawrence Durrell, had "a talismanic longing for olive groves"--in Durrell's own case, for those preferably situated in Greece--which "illustrates the existence of a very British romantic dream of the Mediterranean which the Balkans could never quite fulfill." The dream seemed to be alive and well as late as 1992: the then British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd has olive trees growing near Sarajevo in his short story "The Last Days of Summer"(Inventing Ruritania, 140n; 132).

(10.) Rhodes, it seems, was an old-fashioned and conservative man, with an affinity for tradition and the past in all matters, including literature. He looked down on the literary works of his time, like Virginia Woolfs modernist novels or Ted Hughes' new translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. (See Rhodes's obituary by Alan Rush in the London The Independent, August 25, 2004: "Cosmopolitan Travel Writer, Biographer, Novelist and Memoirist";

(11.) "Just as no visitor to this land will ever forget the first Turk in baggy trousers, or the first sign in the Cyrillic alphabet he sees, so he will never forget the first minaret," writes Rhodes in his work Art Treasures of Eastern Europe (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1972), 65.

(12.) The Prophet's Carpet (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1961). All subsequent quotes are from this edition.

(13.) The action of another, earlier, English work, E. M. Forster's unpublished play "The Heart of Bosnia" (1911), is similarly located in the British Consulate in Bosnia. For a discussion of the play and Forster's view of Bosnia and the Balkans, see In venting Ruritania, 126-131. Broadly speaking, Rhodes inherits Forster's view of Bosnia.

(14.) Rhodes's portrayal of British diplomats is reminiscent of that offered by Lawrence Durrell in such satirical works as Esprit de Corps (1957) and Stiff Upper Lip (1958), in which--in addition to the diplomats and their families--the Balkans and Eastern Europe receive rough sarcastic handling.

(15.) Yet it is in this chapter that the novel delivers a political prophecy, or half-prophecy, when Major Everett reflects on the need for "a federal state here, separating the Moslem part from the rest of the country, giving it a local autonomy" (201).

(16.) The sentiment Rhodes expresses here must have come from his own experience as a reporter in Hungary in 1956, where he witnessed firsthand the West's failure to help the uprising against the Soviets.

(17.) "A new feature in the image of the Balkans," writes Maria Todorova, "was added first between the wars but especially after World War II when a new demon, a new other--communism--was grafted on it" (Imagining the Balkans, 133). This feature of Balkanism, which made the Balkans still farther from Western Europe, does not figure prominently in Rhodes.

The Bazaar and the Pine Wood: Rhodes and Andric

Ivo Andric's Travnicka hronika was published in Bosnian-Croato-Serbian
in Belgrade in 1945. It was first published in English as Bosnian
Story, translated by Kenneth Johnstone (London: Lincolns-Prager,
1959). The first American edition, translated by Joseph Hitrec, was
titled Bosnian Chronicle (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963). The third
English rendering, by Celia Hawkesworth (in collaboration with Bogdan
Rakic), appeared as The Days of the Consuls (London: Forest Books,
1992); this translation was published again in 1996, as Bosnian
Chronicle (London: The Harvill Press).

Ivo Andric, Bosnian Story. 1945       Anthony Rhodes, The Prophet's
(London: Lincolns-Prager, 1959.       Carpet (London: Weidenfeld
Trans. Kenneth Johnstone)             and Nicolson, 1961)

Amedee Chaumette Desfosses            Moreover, it struck Major
belonged to the youngest              Everett that Miron was the
generation of Parisian diplomats,     new type of youth in a
that is to say, to the first          position of authority, whom
batch of those who after the          they were producing in the
stormy years of the Revolution        new society; and he was
had received a regular education      anxious to keep up the
in favourable conditions and had      acquaintance. He was tall,
been given special training for       athletic in build,
service in the East ... At school     fresh-faced with large brown
he had been reckoned a prodigy        eyes which shone out with
and had amazed his teachers and       sincerity; he had a rapidity
comrades with the force of his        of judgment and had acquired
intelligence, the rapidity of         the most diverse kinds of
his judgement and the ease with       knowledge--a typical product
which he acquired the most            of the new society, assured
diverse kinds of knowledge. He        in speech and movement,
was tall, athletic in build,          realistic, confident in his
fresh-faced, with large brown         own strength and knowledge,
eyes which shone with curiosity       and inclined, the Consul
and restlessness. It struck           thought, to over-rate both
Daville at once that he had           (107).
before him a typical product of
the new age, the new generation
of Parisians, forward and
assured in speech and movement,
carefree, realistic, confident
in their strength and knowledge
and inclined to over-rate both

This need for excitement in her       This fatal craving in an
life was very often connected         excitable but fundamentally
with passing and capricious love      frigid woman revealed itself
affairs. As a result of some          in sudden gusts of passion
fatal and irresistible craving,       for people as for things, for
this hot-headed, physically frigid    younger men who, she felt,
woman, from time to time              possessed qualities her
developed a passion for young         husband lacked ... it was
men, usually younger than             the longing for a for a man
herself, in the perpetual belief      who, she felt, would be a
that in the particular young          kindred noble soul, for whom
man in question, whom she felt        she felt she had always been
to be endowed with a strong           yearning, and whom, she was
personality and a stout heart         convinced, she was destined
full of the purest feelings, she      one day to meet (79).
had found the champion of her
dreams and a kindred soul (110).

For some years the bazaar had         The bazaar is a strange
been working and holding its          place. For months, it gathers
tongue, cursing and scraping,         information, exchanging news
chaffering and accounting,            and rumours, passes
comparing one year with another,      them on in whispers, communes
and all the while following           within itself, yet it avoids
everything that went on,              drawing any conclusions, or
gathering information,                even expressing an opinion.
exchanging news and rumours,          But slowly, in this way, a
passing them on in whispers           common mind of the bazaar is
from shop to shop, avoiding any       created, at first no more
conclusion or any expression of       than a vague general feeling
a personal view. In this way,         or temper, its outward
slowly and insensibly a common        expression to be found in
mind of the bazaar was created        abrupt gestures, curses
and took shape. It was at first       and expectorations, which
no more than a vague, general         might mean anything.
temper, finding outward               Then gradually opinion
expression only in curt gestures      hardens, takes shape and
and expectorations, which             cannot be concealed. United
might refer to anything; then,        and penetrated by this common
by degrees, it became                 conviction, the bazaar
the kind of opinion which is          whispers and makes ready and
not kept concealed; last of           waits, as bees wait for
all it grew to be a                   swarming time. It is
hard and definite conviction....      impossible to follow clearly
                                      the logic of the riots when
United and pervaded by this           they begin, or to understand
conviction the bazaar whispered,      what starts them. They are
made ready and waited, as             generally blind, insane,
bees wait for swarming time.          fruitless; but they have a
It is impossible to                   logic of their own, just as
follow clearly the logic of           they have their own obscure
these bazaar riots. They are          technique, compounded of
are blind, insane and                 tradition and impulse. All
generally fruitless, but they         that can be observed by the
have a logic of their own just as     outsider is how they flare
they have their own obscure           up, rage violently for a day
technique, compounded of              or two, and then die away
tradition and impulse. All that       (233).
can be seen from outside is the
way in which they flare up, rage
and die away.

One day, which dawns and opens        One day, which dawns like any
like so many before it, the           other, the ancient and sleepy
ancient, sleepy peace of the town     peace of the bazaar is
is broken, there is a clapping to     broken, with a clapping of
of shutters and an undertone of       shutters and a banging of
banging doors.... All at once the     doors. Suddenly, the people
market folk jump up from the          jump up from the places they
places in which they have sat for     have occupied for years
many years without moving....         without moving, and the cry
This ritual movement of theirs        goes up, 'The bazaar's
and the muffled banging of doors      alight'--fearful, ominous
and shutters are enough to send       words whose meaning is clear
the word through the whole town       to all. Then all the women
and neighbourhood:                    and the aged folk go down
                                      into the cellars, and the
"The bazaar's shut."                  more respectable people
                                      retire into their houses,
Those are fateful, ominous words:     ready to defend them or
their meaning is plain to all.        perish on the threshold.
                                      While from cafes and outlying
Then women and the infirm go          suburbs, the rabble comes
down into the cellars. The more       swarming in, those who have
respectable market-folk retire        nothing to lose, and only in
into their houses ready to defend     riots and violence have
them and to perish on the             anything to gain, the
threshold. And from cafes and         discontented, the misfits,
from outlying suburbs the lesser      the under-dogs, who exist in
Moslem fry come swarming in,          all cities, in all societies.
those who have nothing to lose
and only in riots or upheavals
have anything to gain....

It lasts a day, or two, three,        The riot may last a day, two
five days, according to the time      days, three, five, according
and place, until something has        to the time and place--until
been destroyed or burned, until       something has been destroyed,
human blood has been shed, until      something burned, until
the riot no longer has any heart      human blood has been shed,
in it or until it collapses of        until the riot no longer has
itself.                               any heart, and collapses of
                                      itself. Then one by one
Then one by one the shops             the shops reopen, the crowd
re-open, the crowd begins to          begins to clear, the market
clear, and the market-people, as      people, as if ashamed and
if exhausted and ashamed, resume      half-exhausted, resume and
their work and their daily life,      ashamed, resume their work
pale and glum (160-162)               and their work and daily
                                      lives, pale and glum (254).

The unusual warmth of the last        The beginning of April was
days of March hastened the course     exceptionally dry and warm,
of events and brought on the          more like the end of May,
crisis.... Anna Maria and             and once again, the meetings
Desfosses were both intoxicated       began on the meadows outside
with the freshness and the beauty     Blagograd, followed by
of the day. Both let their horses     gallops over the soft earth
go at a gallop ...                    and the yellow battered
                                      grass, through the mild fresh
At this bend was a small              air of spring....
pinewood. On a sunny day the
trees appeared a black, solid         They came to a small
mass and the ground beneath           pine-wood, in which the
them was dry and russet with          ground beneath was dry with
fallen pine-needles. Desfosses        fallen pine needles. Miron
at once dismounted and proposed       said it reminded him of
to Anna Maria that she too should     France ... and he dismounted
get down and explore this wood        suggesting that they should
which, so he declared, reminded       go into the wood and feel its
him of Italy. The word Italy was      atmosphere. The word 'France'
the lady's undoing. Throwing          was Mrs. Everett's undoing.
their bridle-reins over one arm       Throwing the reins over one
and stumbling on feet numb with       arm she followed him in,
riding over the slippery carpet       walking with difficulty on
of rusty pine-needles, they           the pine needles.... After
advanced a few steps into the         only a few steps in the wood
wood, which grew denser and           it had grown thicker and
closed in behind them.... The         seemed to close in behind
young man talked as if he wished      them. Miron's voice now had
to shout down the silence of the      another, more urgent, tone
wood and reassure both himself        ... he seemed to want to
and her.                              drown the silence of the
                                      wood with his own words, as
He compared the wood with a           if to reassure himself. He
church or some such thing.... He      compared the wood with a
drew her, stumbling, a few paces      cathedral.... 'You remember
further to a hollow where boughs      Debussy?' he said. But
and a thick screen of pine            between his sentences were
concealed them. She drew back,        long pauses, as if something
slipping helplessly in her fright     other than Debussy occupied
on the thick layer of needles.        his mind. They were now in a
But before she could get free or      small clearing in the wood;
say a word, she saw the flushed       and as she walked over a
face of the young man close to        fallen bough, he turned and
her own. There was no further         drew her to him. He pulled
talk of Italy or                      her back a few paces to a
churches. Those great red lips        hollow where the boughs and
were near hers, and now there         a screen of pine trees
were no words upon them.... His       concealed them. She drew
hand was already about her            back, but she could not get
waist. She cried out like             away, and his
someone who is being savagely         flushed face was close to hers.
slaughtered without defence:          There was no more talk now of
No, not that!" ...                    southern France and Debussy's
                                      cathedrals; the excited lips as
                                      they approached had other things
                                      than words on them.... It was
                                      his sudden silence, his
                                      speechlessness, animalism,
                                      which terrified her, and she
                                      cried, 'No, no, no,
                                      not that ...!'

Gone was the familiar world,          Gone was the world of
words, walks, Consuls and             conversation, and art and
Consulates.... Clasping the           theatres, and books and museums;
fainting woman, the young man         gone the consuls and princesses
embraced her as if with a             and bridge parties.... She was
hundred invisible arms. The           about to be offered everything
moisture of his lips mingled          for which she had been
with her tears.... Yet their          unconsciously striving for
lips never parted: indeed their       twenty-four long months--the
two mouths had become one. This       romantic, intelligent young man
embrace between the young man         who was also a 'fellow soul'.
mad with desire and the swooning      He clasped her and began to
woman did not last a full minute.     embrace her feverishly, while
Anna Maria suddenly tore herself      the moisture of his lips mingled
away.... In her rage she              with hers, and with her tears,
pushed from her the uncontrolled      for she had begun to cry. Yet
young man, battering at his           their lips never parted, the two
chest with both fists, feebly         mouths had become one. The
and furiously like an angry           embrace between the young man
child, crying out at each blow:       full of desire and the
No, no, no!                           struggling half-swooning woman
                                      could not have lasted more than
The great illusion before which       a minute, for suddenly her
everything had gone down was now      strength flowed back, and she
dissolved. Just as they had not       pushed him away with all her
been conscious of sinking to the      force, at the same time jumping
ground, so now, without knowing       up.... When he scrambled, half
how, they found themselves on         ashamed, to his feet, the great
their feet. She was sobbing with      illusion for Mrs. Everett, the
rage and adjusting her hair and       perpetually frigid woman,
her hat, and he, clumsy and           was over. Just as they had been
confused, brushed the dry pine        of falling to the ground two
needles from her black habit,         minutes before, so now they were
handed her whip and helped            standing, she adjusting her hair
her out of the hollow. The            and dress, he clumsily and
horses were standing quietly,         confusedly brushing the pine
tossing their heads.                  needles from his coat. The horses
                                      were still standing quietly,
                                      tossing their heads....

They emerged on to the road....       When they came out into the last
The young man was redder than         light of the afternoon, Miron's
usual.... Her lips were now so        cheeks were redder than usual.
white that they were lost in her      Mrs Everett's lips were white,
pale face.... Her whole face was      and there was an expression on
sunken, with an expression of         her face of disgust and
vicious rage and of limitless         fury (109-111).
disgust at herself and
everything about
her.... (270-272).

Omer Hadziselimovic

Loyola University Chicago

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A167652838