Jovan Jovanovič Zmaj and the Serbian Identity between Poetry and History Cover Image
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Jovan Jovanovič Zmaj and the Serbian Identity between Poetry and History
Jovan Jovanovič Zmaj and the Serbian Identity between Poetry and History

Author(s): Bojan Aleksov
Subject(s): Serbian Literature, Nationalism Studies
Published by: Centre for Advanced Study Sofia (CAS)
Keywords: Serbian nationalism; Petar Petrović Njegoš; Ivo Andrić
Summary/Abstract: The recent violent outburst of Serbian nationalism has attracted significant interest in the ever-growing field of nationalism studies. In addition, the socalled „cultural turn“ has engaged scholars in the reappraisal of significant aspects of Serbian culture, namely the ones that make it national, such as literature. Two writers – Petar Petrović Njegoš and Ivo Andrić – pillars of the Serbian literary canon, have naturally been debated the most and their works are often referred to either as illustrations of eternal hatred among South Slavs or as providing impetus for the conflicts. Presenting part of this debate to an international audience, Celia Hawkesworth argued that the main problem of the recent reassessment of major literary figures in the former Yugoslavia was the inability of many commentators to separate the political from the artistic, something I believe is both impossible and futile. After all, the characters at stake here were not lonely riders. One was the spiritual and political leader of his (Montenegrin) state in the 19th century, and the other was the highest diplomatic representative of another (Yugoslav) state in the 20th century. Even more instrumental than their political positions was the influence of their literature on political imagining and identity building over the last two centuries. Nonetheless, their influence was not a one-way and one- dimensional phenomenon. Illuminating the interplay between the two is a task for both historians and literary critics.

  • Page Count: 30
  • Publication Year: 2011
  • Language: English