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Culture – a neglected term in the beginnings of modern croatian literary studies


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Dukić, Davor. (2009). Culture – a neglected term in the beginnings of modern croatian literary studies. Umjetnost riječi : časopis za znanost o književnosti, 53(3-4). pp. 137-152. ISSN 0503-1853

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The text focuses on the first phase of modern Croatian literary studies, specifically on the period from 1955 (first programmatic texts of the Zagreb Critical School) to 1964 (A. Flaker and Z. Škreb’s The Styles and the Periods). Dominant tendencies in Croatian literary studies of the time are as follows: 1. limitation of the discipline (instead of interdisciplinary studies); 2. intrinsic approach; 3. aesthetic approach (literary text is defined as the »art of words«); 4. insistence on style (understood as the totality of all literary procedures) as the most important category of critical assessment; 5. stylistic analysis of a canonical literary text as the most important method of literary study; 6.contemporary German stylistics/ theory of interpretation (W. Kayser, E. Staiger) and the newly discovered Russian Formalism as the theoretical background. Such immanentist tendencies left little room for modern pluralistic, anthropological notion of culture. However, the first phase of modern Croatian literary studies saw some marginal phenomena which presented a divergence from the dominant immanentist tendencies. In some of their texts published in »Word Art« (»Umjetnost riječi«) Croatian scholars with background in English studies (M. Janković, S. Bićanić, I. Ćurčin, M. Beker) criticized the intrinsic approach (R. Wellek, A. Warren), introducing thus point of view based on the »extrinsic«/»cultural« approach (L. Trilling, F. R. Leavis, R. Williams). In late 1960s Croatian literary studies became receptive of the mass culture, more specifically trivial literature, which was predominantly assessed from the point of view of the old »stylistic«/elitist position. In the final part of the discussion the author offers five hypothetical footholds for the explanation of the dominance of immanentism and aesthetic exclusivism which is to be found in the beginnings of the development of modern Croatian literary studies: 1) political conflict between Tito and Stalin in 1948 (rejection of the reflection theory); 2) theoretical mainstream (late immanentism); 3) coincidence (a small number of eminent theoreticians »imposing« their view of literature); 4) continuation of the philological tradition of Croatian literary studies; 5) »The Spirit of the Times« (Zeitgeist) (immanentism/aestheticism corresponds to dominant modernist tendencies in the Croatian art of the time – EXAT-51 Group, literary works published in »The Circles« magazine).

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Slavic languages and literatures > Croatian language and literature
Slavic languages and literatures
Departments: Department of Croatian Language and Literature
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2017 08:46
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2017 08:46

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