Conflict on the Literary Left through the Lens of New Historicism Cover Image

Sukob na knjževnoj ljevici u novohistorističkom ključu
Conflict on the Literary Left through the Lens of New Historicism

Author(s): Domagoj Brozović
Subject(s): Croatian Literature, Theory of Literature
Published by: Hrvatsko filološko društvo
Keywords: New Historicism; containment of subversion; the conflict on the Croatian literary left; socialist realism; autonomy of art; Miroslav Krleža; the magazine Republika; the second modernism; literary writ

Summary/Abstract: Starting with the thesis about literature as a socio-political phenomenon, the paper introduces the possibility of applying one of the concepts of New Historicism – the integration of subversion – to the study of the so-called “conflict of the Croatian literary left”. The famous New Historicist, Stephen Greenblatt proposes the adaptation of Foucault’s discourse analysis with the idea of channelling of political subversions by the centres of power. The scholar argues that what is at stake is the mutual interference of the centres of power and their subversion rather than their confrontation. The first part of the paper offers a short survey of the pre-war stage of the conflict of the Croatian literary left. The early debate focused on whether literature is a form of political propaganda or an autonomous category. The dominant figure in this debate, Miroslav Krleža, responded with a series of articles published in the 1930s, which argued for the balance between political engagement and artistic freedom in literature. Consequently, Krleža was politically marginalized. In the post-war stage of the conflict, Krleža was appointed the editor of the new literary magazine Republika (The Republic), the aim of which was to include him in the social life of the socialist regime. The analysis of the contributions published in the early years of Republika reveals the formulation of a new polemical wave with which Krleža disagreed and consequently left the editorial board of the magazine. However, after the Resolution of Informbiro, socialistic authorities changed their rhetoric by loosening socialist realism and introducing so-called controlled liberalism in literary production. This, in turn, increased the aesthetic quality of literary contributions published in Republika. Hence, the New Historicists’ concept of containment of subversion is applicable to the study of the interference between literature and politics after World War II.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 1-2
  • Page Range: 133-154
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Croatian