Novel published in Serbian as “Čovek koji je jeo smrt”, u Novi Jerusalim, Beograd, Nolit, , © Borislav Pekić; English translation © by. 20 Covek Koji Je Jeo Smrt. Location: Croatia, Belgrade; Citizenship: Serbia; Member since: Apr 27, World rank: No political activity. No group. Covek koji je jeo smrt-Pekic. 1 like. Book. Covek koji je jeo smrt-Pekic. Privacy · Terms. About. Covek koji je jeo smrt-Pekic. Book. 1 person likes this topic.
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He was, it seems, neither so big nor so small, neither so smrg nor so short as to attract attention; he was probably thin rather than fat, but at a time when starvation was rampant, no more so than anyone else; he was certainly pale, but that was a normal complexion during this period of terror, and probably quiet, but in those days who but the naive and powerful was chatty? Otherwise, the Convention, following its humanist principles, might have abolished the death sentence for the condemned of the future, and left the guillotine for the condemned of the here and now.
Borislav Pekić: The Man Who Ate Death (2nd part)
That is to say he might have done had he not already become deeply involved in an act which, in the smdt of the Homerians of the Restoration, made him a saint, but to my colder eyes, made him the subject of this story. Mlle Corday had caught the Friend of the People sitting in his clog-shaped bath, writing on a plank of wood, smelling of vinegar and dreaming of the purifying properties of blood. She had plunged a large ivory-handled knife into his chest.
Did he believe that the sentence passed on the girl from Calvados marked a turning-point in the contents of his Record Book, and by extension in the spirit of revolutionary jurisprudence, one that would allow him to enjoy his work not only as a scribe and calligrapher but also as a man of justice?
Had he possessed any, he would have been sitting on the straw in the Conciergerie covem not in the office of the Revolutionary Tribunal.
Newer Post Older Post Home. All sources agree, and as these facts contradict the counter-revolutionary tone of the stories subsequently told about him they must be believed, that Jean-Louis Popier never laid eyes on the guillotine nor, for that matter, did Robespierre until the day of his executionor on the carts that transported the condemned nor, it seems, did Robespierre ; he never went down to the Conciergerie or entered j courtroom of the Tribunal where Robespierre appeared only to hear his sentence and Jean-Louis came only because I brought him there on my own authority, in keeping with the s,rt of the story.
It is pointless to look jeoo any defining traits where Popier is concerned. Revolutionary practice followed the natural process of simplifying judicial procedure by refraining from acquittal and placing all the accused — charged with anything from prostitution to conspiracy, from being of dubious origin to looking askance at the never-ending patriotic street festivities organized by the revolutionary sections of Paris civek under the all-embracing notion of enemies du peopleenemies of the people.
And every so often, when some of these illustrious personages came and met in the Records Room, history would acquire a human voice, and he could hear it without raising his head from the Protocol, without looking it in the eye.
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Only then could Popier breathe a small sigh of relief. We will not go so far as to say that he had a particularly developed sense of justice. For the first time in a long while, Popier had entered an actual crime in the guilt column.
He did, however, encounter in the office of the Tribunal some of the movers of history.
The wailing cries of the September Massacre and the hymns to Reason from celebrations of the Supreme Being were bound to have reached his ears. One such conversation sealed his fate, signaling the start of our story. So he never saw history actually at work. He did, it is true, have a highly developed handwriting, and we can content ourselves with that rather than turn him into a hero or martyr before he decides, for whatever reason, to be one himself.
Jean-Louis Popier merely listened to history.
The stories about him have come down to us coovek admirers of his deedwho, in their inordinate exaggeration, managed to turn what might have been a more or less persuasive biography into an apocryph. Little is known about the kind of man he really was. It was 31 Thermidor by the revolutionary and 18 July by the reactionary calendar, two days after the funeral of citizen Marat and one day after the execution of the devil woman from Calvados.