Throughout the days preceding the conference, Perlmann has with him a paper by a Russian linguistic, Vassily Leskov, on how memory is informed by language. Suddenly, when he can’t avoid stating the subject of his own (unwritten) presentation, Perlmann gives Leskov’s subject as his own. With the help of a dictionary, he translates the Russian paper and copies it for the other participants. Then Leskov announces his arrival. The story acquires here a Hitchcock-like suspense. Suicide and murder are contemplated. Complications multiply. Perlmann’s anguish grows.
(I don’t know whether “linguistic” for “linguist” is a typo or a mistake on Manguel’s part, but either way it’s comforting to see the Grauniad live down to its standards of copyediting.)
I’m not going to make a separate post for this, but if you’re interested in Serbian/Serbocroatian/whatever you call it, you’ll be interested in Monumenta Serbica. Thanks, Paul!