Istros Books was set up in 2011 in order to publish and promote literature in translation from SE Europe and the Balkans. In its short history, it has managed to prove itself at the forefront of discovering and promoting exciting new works, ranging from essays on the state of the EU by Slavoj Žižek, to six winners of the EU Prize for Literature. At Istros, we believe that high-quality literature can transcend national interests and speak to us with the common voice of human experience. Our books are represented in the UK by Inpress Books and in the US by IPG Trafalgar Square.
Contact: Istros Books, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL
Gaudeamus (Let us Rejoice) is the second autobiographical novel written by the author about his university years, and follows on from his Dairy of a Short-Sighted Adolescent, described by The Guardian’s Nick Lezard as ‘Romania’s Adrian Mole’.
In this exuberant and touching portrait of youth, Eliade recounts the fictional version of his university years in late 1920’s Bucharest. Marked by a burgeoning desire to ‘suck out all the marrow of life’, the protagonist throws himself into his studies; engaging his professors and peers in philosophical discourse, becoming one of the founding members of the Student’s Union, and opening-up the attic refuge of his isolated teenage years as a hotspot for political debate and romantic exploration.
Readers will recognize in these pages the joy of a life about to blossom, of the search for knowledge and the desire for true love. Already an accomplished writer as a young man, this follow-up to his Diary of a Short-Sighted Adolescent reveals a keen observer of human behaviour, a seeker of truth and spiritual fulfilment whose path would eventually lead him to become the ultimate historian of 20th-century religions.
Mircea Eliade was born in 1907 in Bucharest, the son of an army officer. He lived in India from 1928-1932, after which he obtained a doctorate in philosophy with a thesis on yoga, and taught at the University of Bucharest for seven years. During the war he was a cultural attaché in London and Lisbon, and from 1945 taught at the École des haut études in Paris and several other European universities. In 1957 he took up the chair of history of religion at the University of Chicago, a post that he held until his death in 1986. His extensive body of work includes studies of religion and the religious experience that remain influential, such as The Sacred and the Profane, and numerous works of literature, including The Forbidden Forest, Bengal Nights and Youth without Youth, both of which were adapted for the screen.
Early in his life, Eliade was a journalist and essayist, a disciple of Romanian far-right philosopher and journalist Nae Ionescu, and a member of the literary society Criterion. In the 1940s, he served as cultural attaché to the United Kingdom and Portugal. Several times during the late 1930s, Eliade publicly expressed his support for the Iron Guard, a fascist and antisemitic political organization. His political involvement at the time, as well as his other far right connections, were frequently criticised after World War II.
Noted for his vast erudition, Eliade had fluent command of five languages (Romanian, French, German, Italian, and English) and a reading knowledge of three others (Hebrew, Persian, and Sanskrit). He was elected a posthumous member of the Romanian Academy.
Christopher Bartholomew has taught Romanian and is based in the US. His previous translations include Diary of a Short-Sighted Adolescent by Mircea Eliade, published by Istros Books in 2016. Gaudeamus will be his second published translation.
From one of Slovakia’s most respected authors, this tender and sensitive look at an elderly couple dealing with illness might remind readers of Michael Haneke’s award-winning film, Amour.
Pavel Vilikovský’s novella Fleeting Snow (Letmý sneh, 2014), depicts the gradual loss of memory of the narrator’s wife. The narrator reminisces about his past life with his wife and muses on issues ranging from human nature and the soul, to names and the phonetics of Slovak and indigenous American Indian languages, in an informal, humorous style whose lightness of touch belies the seriousness of his themes.
The book’s title refers to its recurring central motif, an avalanche whose inexorable descent cannot be stopped once the critical mass of snow has begun to roll, echoing the unstoppable process of memory loss. Five themes or storylines, intertwined in passages of varying lengths, are labelled with letters of the alphabet and numbers in a playful allusion to scholarly works and musical compositions.
Pavel Villikovsky was born 27 June 1941 in Palúdzka. He studied to be a film director at FAMU in Prague, changing courses after two years to study English and Slovak and graduating from Comenius University, Bratislava in 1965. He worked as an editor at the publishing house Tatran, and from 1976 to 1995 as a deputy chief editor of the literary monthly Romboid. He has also worked in the Slovak editorial department of Readers’ Digest. Hailed as one of the most important Eastern European writers of the post-Communist era, Pavel Vilikovsky actually began his career in 1965, but the political content of his writing and its straightforward treatment of such taboo topics as bisexuality kept him from publishing the works collected here until after the Velvet Revolution. In 1997 Vilikovský won the Vilenica Award for Central European literature.
JULIA SHERWOOD was born and grew up in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (now the Slovak Republic). After studying English and Slavonic languages and literature in Cologne, London and Munich she settled in the UK. She spent more than 20 years working in the NGO sector, travelling widely in Central and Eastern Europe and the former USSR. From 2008 to 2014 she lived in North Carolina, and since 2008 has been working as a freelance translator from Slovak, Czech, Polish, Russian and German into English (with Peter Sherwood), as well as into Slovak.
PETER SHERWOOD studied Hungarian and linguistics in the University of London before being appointed, in 1972, to a lectureship in Hungarian at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (now part of University College London). He taught there until 2007. From 2008 until his retirement in 2014 he was László Birinyi, Sr., Distinguished Professor of Hungarian Language and Culture in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Peter Sherwood received the Pro Cultura Hungarica prize of the Hungarian Republic for contributions to Anglo-Hungarian relations in 2001, the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic in 2007, the János Lotz medal of the International Association for Hungarian Studies in 2011, and the László Országh prize of the Hungarian Society for the Study of English in 2016.
170 Pages, 5 x 7.75″
176 Pages, 5 x 7.75″
A unique insight into the early career of a novelist and religious philosopher, as told from the perspective of a schoolboy’s diary of everyday life in early 1920s Bucharest.
Translated from the Croatian by Coral Petkovich
146 Pages, 5 x 7.75″
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216 Pages, 5 x 7.75
An exposed family secret sends one man on a journey across the Balkans, crossing paths with those who never truly left the war behind.
152 Pages, 5 x 7.75″
A stunning, unique, and deadly serious exploration of the roots and results of the Bosnian civil war, featuring magical realism, Balkan style—complete with some of the most terrifying characters of fantasy fiction.