An NU Press Title
5-1/2 x 8-1/2, 432 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8101-1719-8 / $64.95
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How to Quiet a Vampire
How to Quiet a Vampire is a study of terror and intellect in the tradition of Joseph Heller and George Steiner. Published to acclaim in 1977, this controversial novel of ideas follows Konrad Rutkowski, professor of medieval history and former Gestapo officer, as he returns to the scene of his war crimes determined to renounce, or perhaps justify, his Nazi past. In a series of letters, Rutkowski lays out his ambivalent reactions to war and unthinkable violence, connecting his own swirling ideas to those of the major figures of European thought: Plato, St. Augustine, Descartes, Nietzsche, Freud, and others.
But the novel is more than an intellectual meditation. Borislav Pekic was himself a frequent political agitator and occasional prisoner, and he drew on his first hand knowledge of police methods and life under totalitarianism to paint a chilling portrait of an intellectual acting as a tool of repression. At the same time he questions whether Rutkowski's ideology puts him outside the philosophical tradition he so admires--or if the line separating European thought from totalitarianism is not as clear as we like to think.
"A dozen years after his death Borislav Pekic is acclaimed as one of the greatest writers in the Serbian language." --New York Times
"Northwestern University Press should be commended for its series Writings from an Unbound Europe, in which Pekic's novels and dozens of other first-rate works of fiction in translation from the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe have appeared and continue to appear." --New York Review of Books
"A brilliant and complex satire." --Slavic and East European Journal