"Norris weaves the cultural and literary history around the streets, each chapter addressing a new area."—

Amazon customer review


A Cultural and Literary History

David A. Norris

Foreword by Svetlana Velmar-Jankovic

Belgrade sits above the confluence of two great rivers, the Sava and Danube. It has been home to many civilizations: Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Bulgars, Magyars, Ottomans and Serbs. Frequently attacked and destroyed, it has been rebuilt many times, on each occasion a new city taking the place of the old. A Turkish fortress, the focus for a Serbian principality, an intellectual and artistic centre, the city grew until it became capital of Yugoslavia. Poised between East and West, bridging and dividing them, it is decorated with a rich architectural mix: traditional Balkan styles, European baroque influences, the results of socialist planning, contemporary innovations and design. Now it is one of the largest cities in south-eastern Europe and capital of the Republic of Serbia. Despite many challenges, Belgrade has resisted assimilation and created a unique cultural identity out of its many contrasting sides, sometimes with surprising consequences. CITY OF CONFLICT: Invaded, occupied and damaged in many wars; the scene of power struggles between the Ottoman and Habsburg empires, German and Soviet armies and the NATO alliance; a central point in the tumultuous history of the Balkans. CITY OF CONTRASTS: Islam and Christianity, traditional Balkan styles, old-style kafanas and the modernity of New Belgrade; an ambiguous relationship with its troubled past, traces of which remain in hidden corners only to emerge like ghosts. CITY OF LITERATURE AND FILM: the emergence of a distinctive Serbian literature; epic poetry and modern fiction; the cinema of war and urban alienation.

David A. Norris is Associate Professor of Serbian and Croatian Studies at the University of Nottingham where he lectures on the cultural history of the region. He has published extensively on modern Serbian literature and film.

Cities of the Imagination Series

£15.00 paperback

Buy now

256 pages, maps, 30 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 9781904955436