Наслеђе 51 (2022), стр. 141-153

АУТОР(И): Višnja I. Krstić


Download Full Pdf   

DOI: 10.46793/NasKg2251.141K


A signature feature of Miloš Crnjanski’s famous novel Seobe (Migrations), written in the Serbian language, is the author’s seemingly eccentric use of punctuation marks. Odd as it may seem, the paper maintains that such punctuation serves a literary purpose, as it reg- ulates the flow of narration and imposes a strict overall rhythm. Pre- serving the original punctuation becomes a major issue in translation, especially into English, owing to the discrepancy in morphosyntactic systems of the two languages. Michael Henry Heim’s translation of Seobe into English, entitled Migrations, does not follow the original punctuation pattern, thereby ignoring a series of wider implications     of the syntactic, prosodic, and semantic kind. While calling for Seobe’s retranslation that would pay closer attention to Crnjanski’s punctua- tion, this paper argues that the key to the preservation of the novel’s distinct rhythm lies in keeping the however peculiar sentence struc- tures and accompanying punctuation – as long as the rules of stand- ardized grammars are respected.


literary translation, lyrical prose, stylistics, orthography, prosody, Seobe, Miloš Crnjanski, Migrations, Michael Henry Heim, Serbian literature


  • Carter, McCarthy 2006: R. Carter and M. McCarthy, Cambridge Grammar of English: A Comprehensive Guide: Spoken and Written English Grammar and Usage, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Chafe 1988: W. Chafe, Punctuation and the Prosody of Written Language, Written Communication 5/4, 395–426. doi:10.1177/0741088388005004001.
  • Crnjanski 1983: M. Crnjanski, Seobe (Migrations), Beograd: Nolit.
  • Crnjanski 1973: M. Crnjanski, interview by Milan Komnenić, quoted in Živorad Sto- jković (ed.), Razgovor sa Crnjanskim (A Conversation with Crnjanski), in: Eseji i Članci II (Essays and Articles II), Beograd: Zadužbina Miloša Crnjan- skog; L’Age d’Homme, 1999, 567–575.
  • Federman 2001: R. Federman, Surfiction: Writing with No Restraints, in: D.C. Maus (ed.), Postmodernism, San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 66–74.
  • Halliday 2005: M.A.K. Halliday, Notes on Transitivity and Theme in English – Part 2, in: Jonathan J. Webster (ed.), Studies in English Language, N.P.: Continuum, 55–109.
  • Heim 1994: M.H. Heim (trans.), Migrations, by Miloš Tsernianski, London: Harvill. Kalfus 1994: K. Kalfus, Blood on the Map. Review of Migrations, by Miloš Tsernianski,   <>   30. Dec. 2019.
  • Kovač 1988: Z. Kovač, Kontekst lirskoga (Lyrical context), in: Poetika Miloša Crnjasnog (Miloš Crnjanski’s Poetics), Rijeka: Izdavački Centar Rijeka, 59–69.
  • Nikolić 1972: B. Nikolić, Jezik u Seobama Miloša Crnjanskog (Language in Miloš Crnjanski’s Seobe), in: Predrag Palavestra and Svetlana Radulović (eds.),  Književno delo Miloša Crnjanskog: zbornik radova (Literary Oeuvre of Miloš Crnjanski), Beograd: Institut za književnost i umetnost, 235–245.
  • O’Connell, Kowal 1986: D.C. O’Connell, S.H. Kowal, Use of punctuation for pausing: oral readings by German radio homilists, Psychological Research 48, 93–98. doi:10.1007/BF00309322.
  • Quirk et al. 1985: R. Quirk et al, A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, London: Longman.
  • Scott 1905: F.N. Scott, “The Scansion of Prose Rhythm”, PMLA 20/4, 707–728. doi:10.2307/456488.
  • Simić, Jovanović Simić 2012: R. Simić, J. Jovanović Simić, Grammatical and Intona- tional Structure of M. Crnjanski’s Literary Expression in Seobe (First Vol- ume), Uzdanica 9/1, 7–25.
  • Spivak 2013: G.C. Spivak, Translating into English, in: An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 256–274.
  • Venuti 1995: L. Venuti, The Translator’s Invisibility, London and New York: Routledge.
  • Vučković 2015: R. Vučković, “Proza” (Prose), in: Književno delo Miloša Crnjanskog (Literary Work of Miloš Crnjanski), Beograd: Svet knjige, 83–166.
  • Wells 2006: J.C. Wells, English Intonation: an Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Zorić 1972: P. Zorić, Struktura poetske proze Miloša Crnjanskog (Structure of Miloš Crnjanski’s Poetic Prose), in: Predrag Palavestra and Svetlana Radulović (eds.), Književno delo Miloša Crnjanskog: zbornik radova (Literary Oeuvre of Miloš Crnjanski), Beograd: Institut za književnost i umetnost, 209–234.