Dictionary of the Khazars
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (April 2011)|
|Original title||Хазарски речник;
Published in English
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
Dictionary of the Khazars: A Lexicon Novel (Serbian: Хазарски речник / Hazarski rečnik) is the first novel by Serbian writer Milorad Pavić, published in 1984. Originally written in Serbian, the novel has been translated into many languages. It was first published in English by Knopf, New York in 1988.
There is no easily discerned plot in the conventional sense, but the central question of the book (the mass religious conversion of the Khazar people) is based on a historical event generally dated to the last decades of the 8th century or the early 9th century when the Khazar royalty and nobility converted to Judaism, and part of the general population followed.
However, most of the characters and events described in the novel are entirely fictional, as is the culture ascribed to the Khazars in the book, which bears little resemblance to any literary or archeological evidence.
The novel takes the form of three cross-referenced mini-encyclopedias, sometimes contradicting each other, each compiled from the sources of one of the major Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism). In his introduction to the work, Pavic wrote:
- "No chronology will be observed here, nor is one necessary. Hence each reader will put together the book for himself, as in a game of dominoes or cards, and, as with a mirror, he will get out of this dictionary as much as he puts into it, for you [...] cannot get more out of the truth than what you put into it."
The book comes in two different editions, one "Male" and one "Female", which differ in only a critical passage in a single paragraph.
- Milorad Pavic official site: TRANSLATIONS (Serbian)
- Lektire i puškice: Hazarski rečnik – Milorad Pavić (Serbian)
- Milorad Pavic's Dictionary of the Khazars, New York: Knopf, 1988
- the male and female versions
- Mirjana Dugandžija (5 June 2002). "Slovenci i Hrvati postavljaju kontroverzni srpski hit" [Slovenes and Croats produce a controversial Serbian hit]. Nacional (in Croatian). Archived from the original on 2 July 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- Dictionary of the Khazars: a novel by Milorad Pavic, excerpts from "Postmodernism as Nightmare: Milorad Pavic's Literary Demolition of Yugoslavia" by Andrew Wachtel