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5.0 out of 5 stars The David Attenborough of Caucasus Studies, 10 Jan 2013
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Some academics know their stuff, but need a humanoid minder to interpret their utterances into intelligible English. Modern academics seem to succeed on their former pop star credentials, pretty face or banal delivery. Professor Donald Rayfield fits into neither category. He has depth and breadth of knowledge, the ability to communicate his message clearly, concisely and in an entertaining manner. Above all he assumes his reader/listener has more than 2 brain cells to rub together (much like David Attenborough).

His modest preface explains that he is filling a gap until a better qualified native Georgian steps up to undertake the task of writing a more comprehensive history of Georgian literature. Professor Rayfield makes clear that he has made decisions based on available evidence, wise counsel of other academics and his own subjective assessment.

The result is a fascinating insight into the literature of a small country with an obscure language. Georgian has rescued rare ancient foreign texts from destruction, as copies survived in Georgian translation. It also boasts from fine writers in poetry and prose down the centuries. Donald Rayfield has recently published a translation of one of these: Otar Chiladze's 'A man was going down the road.'

This is well worth reading, as are Donald Rayfield's other books on Georgia. If you get the chance to hear him speak, particularly about Georgian language, then take it. He's the master of ripping yarns.
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