Inventing Ruritania – Vesna Goldsworthy

Vesna Goldsworthy: Inventing Ruritania

I recently interviewed Serbian-born, London-based writer, poet, and academic Vesna Goldsworthy, whose books include a  collection of poetry, The Angel of Salonika, and a memoir entitled Chernobyl Strawberries, which one reviewer described as “suffused with a longing complicated and deepened by the eradication of the Yugoslav state”.

I met Vesna to discuss Inventing Ruritania: The Imperialism of the Imagination, another book which contemplates the identity of South Eastern Europe, in this case the construction of the Balkans in the British literary imaginary – “a gently ridiculous proxy” as Vesna calls it  (typified by the fictional kingdom of Ruritania) for the real Balkans; a repository for the qualities of a region which by turn attracted, fascinated and repelled the British; a place that could be turned into farce and pastiche, or depicted as a place of potential menace, where European identify dissolved into something irredeemably alien and eastern.

To listen to the podcast [22:45], click here.

To find out more about the book, visit Vesna’s publisher’s site here.

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