The attic

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The attic (original title: Mansarda ) is a novel by Danilo Kiš . It was first published in 1962 by Kosmos-Verlag in Belgrade.


The novel begins with a foreword by Alexander Blok and consists of eleven chapters, these are as follows:


The protagonists of the novel, Orpheus and Igor, known as Bock-All-Knowing, discover a dog that has been hit in the ditch. He wears a collar with the inscription Larron. Crimen amoris . Orpheus has the goldsmith make a ring from the collar. At a meeting with his girlfriend, he thinks up a catalog of questions, mainly consisting of sexual, philosophical and literary questions. He explains that he and his friend Bock-Allwissend observed stars and gave them this name. They renamed the star that the two Hunger had named Eurydice .

The attic room I

The attic room in which Orpheus and Igor live will now be described. There are a lot of Latin proverbs carved into the wall, including Plenus venter non studet libenter or Credo quia absurdum . Books are kept under a bell jar, including Spinoza's Ethics and Stendhal's book on love. Igor blames Orpheus for wanting to write a novel in the style of Daphnis and Chloe .

The trip or the conversation

Although Orpheus is still in the attic, he writes a love letter from a fictional bay of dolphins , a very exotic place. Orpheus tells that there the lover in the moonlight commits suicide in the face of his beloved and throws his heart to the dolphins for food. In a discussion on the meta-level, Orpheus Igor says that the point of writing is the loss of ego.

The return

Orpheus brings back some exotic souvenirs from his trip to the Bay of the Dolphins and talks to a Prince Carnaval in French.

The lute or the great revue

Igor reminds Orpheus that he cannot take refuge in the dream of Eurydice. Orpheus also replies that his lute is a lute and not a symbol. After all, they both go to a fashion show.

Walpurgis Night or the beginning of oblivion

Orpheus and Igor go to a brothel, from which they wake up hungover the next day.

To the two desperados

Orpheus and Igor go to the pub to the two desperados . There they study the visitors and the menu. Orpheus explains to Igor that he sees Eurydice as his ideal.

The island or the diary

Orpheus tends cows on an island called Das Eiland . He keeps a diary of his work and his explorations on the island.

The attic room II

It is revealed that Orpheus is actually writing the novel The Attic , which is a self-referential work and begins just like the beginning of the novel.

The attic III

A poem appears in Indonesian and a list of the residents of the house in which the described attic is located.

Sunday, sunny day

The author of the book, of whom it is unclear whether it is the fictional Orpheus or Danilo Kiš, explains to his neighbors that he finished the book The Attic Chamber that night . When they explain to him that he could write during the day, he only quotes the following poem: "You will never see me / the dawn with me."


"The playful and ironic genesis of a young provincial man who comes to himself in an attic in Belgrade and becomes a writer."

- Helmut Böttiger on Deutschlandfunk , November 23, 2014


  • Danilo Kiš: The attic . Novel. Translated from the Serbo-Croatian by Katharina Wolf-Grießhaber. Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-446-14944-9 .

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Individual evidence