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Ilija Trojanow

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Julian Preece

Ilija Trojanow, born in Bulgaria in 1965 and brought up in East Africa, established his name as an international writer with the novel Der Weltensammler or The Collector of Worlds (2006), about the cross-cultural Victorian adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton. Since the mid-1990s Trojanow has been prolific in a number of genres, including travel, ethnography and science fiction. He has also become a major public intellectual in Austria and Germany with provocative interventions on topics such as Islam and the West, civil rights in the age of cybersurveillance and climate change. His imaginative writing sits at the centre of a number of defining contemporary concerns, in particular the relationship between identity, language and culture.
This volume contains an interview with Trojanow, a previously unpublished essay by him on Lessing’s Enlightenment parable of inter-religious tolerance, Nathan der Weise ( Nathan the Wise), and essays by European and North American scholars on central aspects of his growing œuvre. The contributors explore why Trojanow is one of today’s leading writers of German while challenging a number of myths that have grown up around him and his magnum opus, Der Weltensammler.

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A Note on Citation and Translation

Extract

In order to make this book, which is the first in either German or Eng- lish on Ilija Trojanow’s growing literary oeuvre, readily comprehensible to non-German speakers we have translated all German quotations into English and only give the original German in the case of Trojanow’s own writings, which are the object of our study. Readers without German will become familiar with the original titles of his major books, for which reason we do not translate titles such as Der Weltensammler as The Collector of Worlds each time that they are mentioned. English titles of untranslated works are not italicised, thus EisTau/Melting Ice. The publication details of the editions consulted by each contributor are given in footnotes at the beginning of his or her chapter. Most of the translations are our own, but when Trojanow’s books have been published in English (as three thus far have been), some contributors have opted to cite the published translations instead. Again, this is made clear each time in the chapters concerned.

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