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Book Reviews & Features


Balkan Essays Irish Times review 18th March 2017

The idea of The Balkans is romantic and suggestive: exploited by fin-de-siecle thriller writers such as E Phillips Oppenheim, immortalised in Olivia Manning’s great trilogy of novels about the second World War in Romania and Greece, and recently and mordantly deconstructed by historians and cultural critics such as Mark Mazower and Vesna Goldsworthy.

The large and complicated peninsula containing, or spreading into, the former Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Romania and Bulgaria was a territory where the Irish essayist Hubert Butler lived, travelled, researched, returned to and compulsively wrote about. His essays on the area, with some ancillary material, are now gathered into one volume, with a long and penetrating introduction by one of the editors, Chris Agee.