Serbian Epic Poetry
The best English-language collection of Serb poetry that I know of is Pennington and Levi’s Marko the Prince, which contains all of the poems on this site (in some cases in more complete form), along with poems from the Prince Marko cycle and dozens of others. The translations are more scholarly than Ms Rootham’s (though perhaps less mellifluous), and there is some discussion of the history of the poems and how they were collected.
There are many good books on recent Balkan history available, of which I recommend Seton-Watson’s The Rise of Nationality in the Balkans and any of the ones (there are several) by Barbara and/or Charles Jelavich. For those still interested in early Serbian history, I recommend John V.A. Fine Jr.’s The Late Medieval Balkans (which, incidentally, is my primary source for the information in the footnotes on this site). An excellent series of lectures on Balkan history is available on the Web. (See Online Resources, below.)
A brief discussion of how the Serbian epic poems relate to actual history can be found in an old usenet post of mine, reprinted on this site.
The Serbian Unity Congress web site includes two essays which I recommend: one by Nada Milosevic-Djordjevic offers a detailed discussion of Serbian poetry, focusing on the oral tradition; another by Radmila Marinkovic discusses Serbian medieval literature. For Balkan history, I highly recommend a series of 25 lectures on modern Balkan history by Michigan State University’s Steven W. Sowards (particularly lectures 1, 3 and 5). One more article I recommend is a discussion of the Serbo-Croatian language and its political implications, by Daria Sito Sucic.
© Mark D. Lew / May 2, 1999