In Conversation with Tanja Bakić – Reflection

Tanja Bakić considers some of the ways in which her presentation on connections between Serbian and British graveyard poetry were received. Her talk was part of the Global Blake: In Conversation series.

I had the pleasure to present my research on the connections between the British Graveyard Poetry and the Serbian Graveyard Poetry through the figure of William Blake online on the Global Blake: In Conversation Series organized by Sibylle Erle and Jason Whittaker with Annise Rogers in assistance.

During my presentation the audience was very excited about the topic – it proved fresh and hitherto neglected in comparative literature studies. I was happy to explore the layers of the reception of the Serbian editions of Robert Blair and Edward Young illustrated and/or designed by William Blake. I instantly felt that the audience was very interested in the edition of Blair’s Grave first published in Serbia in 2015. They asked questions concerning the reception of that edition, focusing on how these Slavic people reacted to the illustrations, hinting at possible religious connotations (Orthodox and possibly Methodist), then questions about the Serbian Graveyard poetry and the possible “dark“ subculture it may have generated in Serbia, or even Blake the visual artist and his influences on Serbian artists. The good thing was that Milena Dasukidis, the translator and publisher of the Serbian edition of Blair’s Grave, also attended the event. She shared, nice descriptions of her experiences of translating Blair, and she explained Blake’s place in contemporary Serbian visual culture, focusing on Serbian fantastic literature and the Graveyard motives adored by the Serbian youth. The audience also asked Milena about her plans to produce the first completely translated edition of Young’s Night Thoughts in Serbia with Blake’s illustrations, and she said that she - because of the event - felt very much encouraged to embark immediately upon that project.

The very same day after the presentation I received two nice emails from members of the audience, eager to know more. One asked about more details on the Serbian edition of Blair’s Grave edition and the other about Serbian buyers of the edition and their experience of Blake’s illustrations.

I would like to thank to the organizers of the event for enabling me to share my research with such a lovely and inspiring audience.

Tanja Bakić 

June 2022