Zvonko Taneski’s Macedonian-Slovakian Comparativist Views (Studies and Interpretations), Institute of Macedonian Literature (Skopje, 2012)
#1 Zvonko Taneski’s new book is an intriguing, rich and varied study of the literary bonds that exist between Macedonian and Slovak cultures. Evidently, it is a product of a studious, continuous and committed engagement in the areas shared by Macedonian and Slovak studies/literatures. Written as a reflection on multiple occasions and impulses, which in turn reflect the author’s own presence and knowledge in/of both literatures, this study mirrors its author’s avid enthusiasm and dedication to the topic at hand. The essays included in the collection are quite varied in scope and theme; namely, there are individual reviews of certain published translations from one language into another, as well as comprehensive studies of mutual anthological representations in the area of literary sciences, right next to layered analytical studies, dedicated to Slovak and Macedonian surrealism, or the writerly shared spaces of Mateja Matevski and Milan Rufus. Amidst the essays, analyses and commentaries on the translation efforts in the fields of poetry, drama and contemporary prose are the ones which stand out immediately, perhaps as a kind of added argument in favor of the author’s own active interest in furthering the mutual literary bonds between Macedonians and Slovaks, thus lending his own support to the strengthening of their mutual creative communication. This tendency has already been proven by Taneski’s personal contribution to the field of literary translation, for example, through his translation of Pavel Vilikovski’s prose, as well as the poetry of several Slovak poets, which in turn speaks volumes about Taneski’s own legacy as a studious Slavist with engaged intentions focused on deepening and disclosing this insofar new and unexplored field. Consequently, almost all of the pieces in this book are marked by the spirit and methodology of literary comparativism, something of value and significance in its own right. However, this does not mean that we are exposed to a dry and self-contained scientific study, rich in information and bibliographic notes. Quite the contrary, the scientific method is partnered by the subjective, the personal, even the intimate bond Taneski has with the questions and topics related to Slovak culture, hence his essays are marked by a subtle creative energy that will certainly be of interest to a wider circle of readership, including literary buffs and not merely professional readers and critics whose work ties them to Macedonian-Slovak relations. Bearing in mind the fact that the cultural and literary studies Macedonian literary science focuses on, particularly in the area of mutual Slavic interactions, we could freely say that a book of this format and scope is quite welcomed, since as a thoughtfully provoking and hopefully conducive study it may further any and all future endeavors in this area.