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Ilija Trojanow


Edited By 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This volume contains an interview with Trojanow, a previously unpublished essay by him on Lessing’s Enlightenment parable of inter-religious tolerance, Nathan der Weise ( Nathan the Wise), and essays by European and North American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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JULIAN PREECE From Kisch to Kapuściński


: Trojanow and the European Tradition of Reportage At the centre of my attention in this chapter is a term which Ilija Trojanow himself has employed in the titles or first lines of three of his own trav- elogues and of two anthologies that he has edited or introduced: the term is ‘reportage’, plural ‘reportagen’. It may be used quite loosely today to denote journalism written (usually) from abroad but reportage has a literary line- age which is distinct both from travel writing and reports by foreign cor- respondents, not to mention literary fiction which is set in other countries. Writers of reportage tend to have a point to get across and a commitment to uncovering the truth that justifies their bringing what they have experi- enced to life through literary means. This may include imaginative invention which leads in turn to charges that they have embellished the truth. They often show solidarity with the subjects of their writing, however, by living side by side with them and reporting from their point of view. Classical travel writing, in contrast, has often been associated with the privileged, as a domain of the gentleman of leisure. Goethe taking of f in his carriage to spend three years exploring Italy, with a stipend arranged retrospectively with his royal employer, is the classic German example. The two anthologies of reportage that Trojanow has edited are by the Prague-born journalist Egon Erwin Kisch (1885–1948) and the Polish author Ryszard Kapuściński (1932–2007).1...

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