Anthology of Modern Slavonic Literature in Prose and Verse/Preface
The bulk of this Anthology has been selected from translations which have been accumulating for several years. My aim has been to include what is most typically racial; but what is most typically racial is not always the most adapted for translation. In making my choice of material, this was one of the difficulties I had to deal with. It was less acute in the prose section; but on the other hand, this section presented certain other obstacles of its own. The first arose from the need of finding short prose works complete in themselves. Only twice (with Reymont and Machar) did I deviate from this principle, and even in these two cases the reader will find that each of the extracts chosen, although part of a longer work, formean organic whole. The second obstacle was due to the purely practical diffculty, under present conditions, of obtaining the necessary books. To take a particular instance, this accounts for the scanty manner in which Southern Slav prose is represented. It is hoped, however, that such gaps as these (and perhaps the many others) may be filled in later when circumstances are more favourable.
The word "modern" has been interpreted usually from a chronological point of view. In many cases its application to style and tendency followed as a matter of course. There are a few obvious exceptions. Thus, Prešern died in 1849. Shevtchenko's poems date back more than half a century. The "Ode to Slavdom" by Preradović was written in 1865. In all these cases my choice is justified, I think, by the racial criterion I have mentioned. But for the most part, the chronological standard has been adhered to. About three in four of the writers represented are still alive.
Ever since I began to arrange my material, I have had the considerable advantage of frequent consultations with Mr. Janko Lavrin. Indeed, I believe it is due to his suggestion that this work has assumed its present form. For that definite service, together with a great deal of personal encouragement which cannot be precisely indicated, I here express my gratitude, although it cannot but fall far short of what is due. P. Selver.