Draginja Ramadanski (1953) is an archivist, expert in Russian language and literature and a literary translator. Her translations, studies and essays have been featured in literary, professional and scientific publications since 1980. She earned her Master Degree in 1985 from the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade (Constructive features of V. V. Rozanov’s prose) and her PhD in 1992 from the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad (Elements of parody in the novel The Village of Stepanchikovo by F. M. Dostoyevsky). She teaches Russian literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad.
She has compiled and translated the anthology of Russian women’s poetry Uzvodno od suza (Upstream from Tears), 2009.
Among her publications are a book of translation essays Sneško u tropima (Snowman in the Tropical Zone), 2012, a scientific monograph Parodija u romanu Selo Stepančikovo F.M. Dostojevskog (Parody in the novel The Village of Stepanchikovo by F.M. Dostoyevsky), 2013, and a book of lyrical prose Ili ne (Or Not), 2018. Her new book of cultural essays Kavalerija rustikana (Cavalleria Rusticana) is soon to be published, as well as a book of short stories Sestera Klementina i metamor (Sister Clementine and the Metamour).
She has published about fifty books of prose and poetry translations from Russian and Hungarian languages and has been awarded a number of translation prizes.
A mother of two, she lives in Senta.
About the books
Upstream from Tears (Узводно од суза)
The translator behaves not as an anthologist, but as a genealogist. A genealogical line has been established that even the poetesses know nothing about, and that they might even dispute. Warmth of a family reunion has been established too: the hostess is the one who has planned the seating, placing her guests next to one another. They can go their own ways afterwards. (…) Eleven poetesses! In this treasure of a poetry book there is so much value that we cannot do anything else but observe that the string of eleven poetesses has been joined by yet another one – the translator – as the twelfth.
Sava Babić, preface to Upstream from Tears, 2009.
I must point to the fact that Draginja Ramadanski’s anthology Upstream from Tears has allowed us to communicate not only with the spirit of an epoch or the abstract called contemporary Russian women’s poetry, but with the works of eleven flesh-and-blood women. I particularly admire Draginja’s courage as the compiler of the anthology to show her subjective preferences. Owing to her consistency, she has presented us with a remarkably compact anthology that, regardless of the number of authors and poems included, does not impoverish the image of Russian women’s poetry over a period of about a hundred years. (…) It shows an underlying concept of poetry, as well as man. As this is a kind of a manifesto of freedom; it has its own recognisable tone, from the first to the last poetess.
Biserka Rajčić, review of Upstream from Tears, 2010.
Or Not (Ili ne)
Can the anthological miniature about a(n erotic) secret In the Depot be considered an interruption in the course of resurrecting the ancient forms, characters and atmospheres? Hardly so, as a depot is part of the Archive, and the archival work is a secret language of this manuscript on all its pages, even when the letters in Mentor and Mentor 2 clearly draw a different trace in the same direction … (…) Why does, despite everything, this manuscript bring a narrative? Perhaps because Draginja Ramadanski believes: The next step is a narrative. The additional form of cognitions, dark, subconscious and irresistible.
Vasa Pavković, from the afterword to Or Not, 2018.
How to write about this book without traces of feminine sensibility, about the book that, even without knowing, only after a few pages we can sense was written by a woman, and not a feminist kind of a writer at that, but the one whose text consistently stays true to her femininity. Having read the book twice, from cover to cover, I can say only this: she does it right. Moreover, there is a joy that permeates almost every single line, giving a brilliant aura even to problematic situations. About the language only this: Draginja Ramadanski can say hers is a finely chiselled style. About the book’s multiculturalism I would add: just as in one of the texts the authoress dissects the relationship between Danilo Kiš, Venedikt Yerofeyev and Otto Tolnai in an intriguing way, the entire book reflects the trinity of Serbian-Russian-Hungarian culture, life and art.
Kalman Jodal, Serbian Literary Journal, 2018.
Singled out as anthological is the story Tremendum, which depicts in well measured words a game of abuse and submissive acceptance of a punishment for some “horrible secret”, regardless of whether it is imaginary or not. This seems to be the right direction for Draginja Ramadanski, a talented storyteller whose strength lies primarily in the concise, pregnant expression. The collection Or Not shows the full scope of linguistic treasure the authoress possesses. Dipping into it to catch those words that are lost in our memory, Draginja Ramadaski return to us their splendour and multitude of meanings.
Andjelka Cvijić, Dnevnik, 2018.
A collection of inspired lyrical texts by Draginja Ramadanski sovereignly proves the richness of essay as a form without limits that can accommodate suggestive words, inspiring thoughts and lavishly sensitive worldviews. Besides the fact that the autobiographical motivation is clearly present, the story told about childhood and growing up is not reduced to confessional style, but in regard to genre earns the text an entrance into the spaces of prose.
Vladislava Gordić, Večernje novosti, 2019.
Cavalleria Rusticana (Kавалерија русикана)
Draginja Ramadanski persuasively, movingly, in a reader-friendly but still sharp manner follows and intimate-votive, scientific and epiphanic version of the enlightened merciless self-referentiality, which has no favourites in its analytical dedication, knowledge about what she feels and feeling about what she knows. With articulate and challenging erudition, discoveries and cognitions are permeated here with hermeneutic and personal focus, as an inspiring challenge for future research, on entire bodies of aesthetics, Russian literature, translation. This book is a magisterial document testifying that a creative reading textbook can exist. A textbook that is more than a relaxing ornament of taste, but a support in any adventure that needs a suitcase packed with humanity, love, faith, knowledge and confidence in joy.
Radivoj Šajtinac, from the review to Cavalleria Rusticana, 2019.