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Sava Damjanov – Transformations



Written by: Sava Damjanov
Translated by: Filip Čolović

For Tanja, in the name of That transformation…


… I was a prisoner of a dream, I was a woman. I was a princess, a pretty unbridled Princess who conceived a child each night with about a hundred of her lovers. I was the body, the Body which heeds only the voice of its own heart, the Body which feels and follows only the dark rhythm of its subconscious. I was a mother, the Mother, the great grandmother of worlds, the Mother of both the born and the unborn child, the Child who was I…

…I was a prisoner of a dream, I was a woman. Someone was entering me, someone was painfully conquering my womb, someone was spilling their cold seed that instilled fear, powerlessness, enjoyment. Someone was leaving a demonic mark inside me, someone was feeding on my flesh, someone used their fingers, their teeth, their tongue to write foreign letters, foreign words on my skin, on my back. Someone was leaving a mysterious message for those who would come afterward: Someone was speaking about me using primordial prophetic signs, about where I was hiding, What my essence was and Who I truly was…

…I was a prisoner of a dream, I was a woman. They called me the First and the last, they called me the Whore and the saint, they called me the incomprehensible white silence. They called me a fallen soul which had lost its initial duality; a soul that gave into debauchery and copulated with anyone; a soul which left one lover only to immediately rush to the next, to serve him in his bed as the true Lord. They called me She who had no true Husband to love her, to take care of her, and to respect her, She who is betrayed by everyone and to whom everyone is unfaithful, She who always ends up alone – the widow to whose profound suffering nobody would lend an ear…


… I was a prisoner of a dream, I was a child. A boy or a girl, I don’t know, but I know that I had sold my virginity to the first one who offered the desired price. A boy or a girl, I don’t know, but I know that I soon became someone widely known by their debauchery and that I was bought by someone very powerful. A boy or a girl, I don’t know, but I became a slave to that Tyrant: he did with me whatever he wanted, he impregnated my mouth (believing it to be a part of an ancient shamanistic ritual), he gave me to his friends who passionately enjoyed in my body’s allure and in my immense ability to bestow pleasure upon other bodies…

…I was a prisoner of a dream, I was a child. A measly little creature that instinctively, animalistically mated with whomsoever desired it or demanded it: yes, exactly – a measly little creature that mated, and didn’t “make love” or “sleep with somebody”. A measly little creature whose limbs were smaller than the Limbs that penetrated its body, the Limbs that were ravaging it, the Limbs that so mercilessly used it to play the primaeval Game. A measly little creature which, in truth, desired to be ripped apart, torn to shreds, destroyed: this possibility excited the creature to the point of insanity…

…I was a prisoner of a dream, I was a child. A ray of light in the tide of the metaphysical night, a shining miserable being looking for another miserable being, because it felt that dual misery made one whole Joy: like in mathematics, where two negatives form a positive, like when the mixing of yellow and red create orange; like in Love, after all. A ray of light in the tide of the metaphysical night, a ray of light fully aware of its dramatic physicality, living that very drama. A ray of light in the tide of the metaphysical night, the ray of light that eternally wonders, eternally searching for Something, in eternal Distress…


… I was a prisoner of a dream, I was a hermaphrodite. I was my own husband and wife at the same time, I loved myself and I loved myself with myself. I was a passionate servant of my own breasts, from which flowed the milk that was meant for the newborns that I had created by myself: I created them in a passionate embrace with my own self, in a trance that could – maybe – be compared with the love of the gods. I was the lover who planted kisses over all the orifices of its own body, and not just the orifices but the rest of it, too…

… I was a prisoner of a dream, I was a hermaphrodite. If my feminine nature would jealously ask me why I love the masculine side more, I would answer: “Why don’t I love you as I love the man within (and on) myself?” If my masculine nature would ask me the same thing, namely, why I love the feminine more, it would receive an identical answer. On the other hand, if someone were to ask me who my husband was, I would answer that my husband was actually my wife and that, by creating offspring, we are doing what God himself did. If anyone were to ask me to elaborate on that, I would say that the nature of the divine (regardless of what God we were talking about) is fundamentally hermaphroditic, containing both the masculine and the feminine principle, and that it is therefore self-sufficient and self-creating in a specific theologically erotic sense…

… I was a prisoner of a dream, I was a hermaphrodite. Once, I had a male lover, the second time, a female lover; I didn’t have to have them, and I could have had even more of them. Once, my heart was wounded: the pain which we cause ourselves wounds more severely than the pain cause by others, and my pain was – of course- self-inflicted through the act of entering deep inside the womb of my female half using my male half, the cruel dance having lasted for hours. Once,my female half refused to make love and that depressed me (my male half, that is) and the depression could have ended in suicide had the one responsible not been against it – my female half. Once, I wished for us to part, to live like all the other people who had gender identity, but that parting was made impossible by Love, the Love that joined us the way that not even fairy tale lovers were joined: faithful to the grave but also eternally buried within the grave in the other world…


… I was a prisoner of a dream, I was an embryo. I listened to my mother’s heart as I slept contently in her womb, as I swam in the safety of her warm juices. I listened to the awakening of my own senses, touching and caressing everything that was on me and around me and that brought me physical joy, I swallowed the fluid from which I was created and which was now the most sublime delight. I listened to the sounds which signaled that my father was taking my mother: those sounds felt as if they were taking me, too, those sounds felt as if they were filling me with that hot, pulsing flesh that filled my mother’s insides with so much power…

… I was a prisoner of a dream, I was an embryo. A curled-up embryo who was happy with itself, but also happy with physical contact, the trembling of its father and mother: each orgasmic spasm of theirs was also mine, every gasp of passion was also mine, all the energy emitted by their wild eros was the energy  which created within me the strength – albeit an immature, unarticulated, unconscious strength of  the wild eros. The curled up embryo, a creature yet unborn, a tiny being sucking its thumb in its mother’s womb, it was only the wild eros that it experienced as the true eros, having felt its climax, its strange purpose being precisely in its lack of restraint, its exaggeration, its animality: if Love makes us equal to the gods, the curled up embryo would say in its silent language, then physicality returns us to our roots, our archetypes, in a sacred way…


… I was a prisoner of a dream, I was an amoeba. I lived in water, I lived surreally, I lived the life of an asexual organism, I lived for the moment when I would meet another entity and merge with it entirely, I lived for that melding through which we become some unique new body and some unique new being. I lived unaware of that being perfection, I lived unaware that perfection also meant possessing a mutable body, I lived unaware that perfection also represented the ability to multiply through mitosis, when you transform from one into Two. I lived unaware of the fact that each multiplication was in some way an erotic act, I lived unaware that I had the power which even the most advanced divine creatures lacked. I lived and floated, carried by water currents and my blurry urges…

… I was a prisoner of a dream, I was a Being of the Void. Or rather, I was the Void itself: I was composed of Darkness, I was the primordial Chaos, I was the Not Being which would conceive infinite worlds and infinite creatures in the erotic cosmological Game of Creation. And this one would – again – reflect my original game, repeating its (infinite, countless) forms of erotic play and creation…

Sava Damjanov: He was born in 1956 in Novi Sad. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Novi Sad in 1980 (Yugoslav Literature and the Serbo-Croatian Language), he earned his magister degree in 1986, and earned his PhD in 1996 at that same university under the mentorship of Milorad Pavić. He works at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad, teaching 19th Century Serbian Literature and Creative Writing, and he also teaches Postmodern Culture as part of the PhD studies program. From 2003 to 2007, he managed magister studies in the Serbian Literature Department. He held lectures and mentored PhD students at various universities, both in Serbia and abroad (Belgrade, Niš, Nikšić, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Lisbon, Bordeaux, Venice, Krakow, Szeged, Melbourne).

He writes prose, literary critique and literary historical works. His scientific research is for the most part aimed at fantasy fiction, erotic and experimental layers of Serbian tradition, reception theory, postmodernism and comparative studies. He has edited the prints of 18th, 19th and 20th century Serbian writers. During the 90s he was the editor of a world literature magazine, Pismo and Saint Danube,a magazine dedicated to medieval European culture. He was also the editor of Biblioteka srpske fantastike(Serbian Fantasy Anthology)and the Novosadski manuskript (Novi Sad Manuscript)edition published bythe Novi Sad City Library. For several years he was a member of the editorial staff of the anthology Deset vekova srpske književnosti (Ten Centuries of Serbian Literature) published by Matica Srpska. He was a member of the committee for the Branko Award awarded by Matica Srpska, from 1987 to 2004 (and president of the same since 1992). He was the founder of international literature festival Prosefest (Novi Sad, 2007) and the life’s work award Milovan Vidaković (since 2008) which is awarded at the festival. He was the chairman of the Novi Sad City LibraryCommittee (2005-2008), a member of the Serbian Literature Society Committee (2010-2012), the member of the Matica Srpska Committee (2005-2015), and the chairman of the Sterijino pozorje Committee (2012-2017). Since 2018 he is the chairman and founder of the Society of the Društvo Novosadskih književnika (DNK).

He speaks German, English and Russian.

Among the various texts published in both Serbian and other languages he has published the following books: Istraživanje savršenstva (Exploring Perfection, novel), Belgrade 1983; Graždan erotikon (anthology), Nis 1987; Koreni modern srpske fantasike (The Roots of Modern Serbian Fantasy, study), Novi Sad 1988; Cookies, Deceit, Nonsenses (stories), Belgrade 1989; Šta to beše mlada srpska proza? (Young Serbian Prose, What Was That Exactly?, essays and critique), Belgrade 1990; Pričke (Short Stories, prose), Belgrade 1994;Nova (postmoderna) srpska fantastika (New (postmodern) Serbian Fantasy, anthology), Belgrade 1994; Koder: Istorija jedne recepcije (Koder: The History of His Reception, study), Belgrade 1997; Povesti različite: lirske, epske, no najvise neizrecive (Various Stories: Lyrical, Epic, But Most of All Unutterable), Novi Sad 1997; Glosoalija (new and selected stories), Novi Sad 2001;Novo čitanje tradicije (A New Reading of Tradition, literary historical essays), Novi Sad 2002; Novi Sad – zemlji raj I-II(Novi Sad – Heaven on EarthI-II, a chrestomathy, co-authored with L. Mustedangić), Pancevo 2004; Graždanski erotikon (anthology, second, update and illustrated edition), Novi Sad 2005; Remek-delca (Little Masterpieces, stories), Belgrade 2005; Eros i Po(r)nos (Eros and Pornos, essays, reviews and mystifications), Belgrade 2006; Istorija kao apokrif (History as an Apocrypha, novel) Novi Sad, 2008; Apokrifna istorija srpske (post)modern (An Apocryphal History of Serbian (Post)Modernism, essays) Belgrade, 2008; Porno-liturgija Arhiepiskopa Save (Porno-liturgy of Archbishop Sava, stories), Novi Sad-Zrenjanin, 2010; Itika Jeropolitika@Vuk (novel) Novi Sad, 2014;

DAMJANOV: SRPSKA KNJIŽEVNOST ISKOSA (DAMJANOV: SERBIAN LITERATURE ASKEW, selected literary history and literary critique), Books 1-5 “Službeni Glasnik”, Belgrade 2011-2012:

Book 1: VRTOVI NESTVARNOG (Gardens of the Unreal, essays on Serbian fantasy fiction)

Book 2: VELIKI KOD: ĐORĐE MARKOVIĆ KODER (The Great Code: Đorđe Marković Koder, study and essays)

Book 3: SRPSKI EROTIKON (Serbian Eroticon, erotography in Serbian literature)

Book 4: NOVA ČITANJA TRADICIJE 1-3 (New Readings on Tradition 1-3, literary-historical essays)

Book 5: ŠTA TO BEŠE SRPSKA POSTMODERNA? (Serbian Postmodernism? What Was That Exactly? Essays and critique)

His texts have been translated into English, French, German, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Slovakian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Slovenian and Macedonian. He has been included in anthologies of Serbian contemporary prose. During the winter semester of 2001/2002 Damjanov taught at the Department of Slavistics at the Tubingen University; He has given lectures at Universities in in Regensburg, Freiburg, Berlin, Halle, Trier, Göttingen, Bonn, Torino, Venice, Krakow, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Gdansk, Lodz, Opolе, Veliko Trnovo, Ljubljana, Skopje, Budapest, Kiev and Lvov. He has taken part in a number of international literary and academic symposiums in our country and abroad.

For his literary works and works in the field of literary history he has received: the Branko Award, the Zaharije Orfelin Award, Award of the Culture SIZ of Vojvodina for the original reaches in literary historiography, Award of the Literary Society of Vojvodina for Best Book of Prose of the Year, the Laza Kostić Award, the Gospođin Vir Award, and the Sreten Marić Award. His Antologija srpske postmoderne fantastike was declared the best book in a foreign language in Ukraine in 2004. There are more than two hundred of reviews or essays on his books, as well as interviews in domestic and foreign press.

Translator Filip Čolović (1995) – born in Belgrade, he is currently finishing his undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade (English Department). At the moment, he works as a content writer and translator. Appreciates the avant-garde and all forms of quality art and fiction.

LinkedIn Filip Čolović





Biography translated by  Aleksandra Stojković. Born August 23rd 1995, lives and attends University of Belgrade. She is currently in her final year of studies in the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade, department of English. She works as a freelance translator and voice actress. She loves stories in all their forms, whether they be comic books, video games, movies or television shows.







This article was published in March of 2019, within the Awakening topic.

Read the other texts published in the Fiction section.

This article was originally published in Serbian and you can read it here. Translated into English by Filip Čolović.

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