„The Middle–Class Bookcase” – Cultural Heritage and Modeling a New Identity of the Serbian Society in 1944–1950 Cover Image

ГРАЋАНСКИИ ОРМАН ЗА КЊИГЕ – културно наслеђе и обликогање Новог идентитета српског душтва 1944-1950
„The Middle–Class Bookcase” – Cultural Heritage and Modeling a New Identity of the Serbian Society in 1944–1950

Author(s): Nataša Milićević
Subject(s): History
Published by: Institut za noviju istoriju Srbije
Keywords: educational status; social standing; new identity of the Serbian society; post-WW II period in Serbia; register of forbidden books and writers;

Summary/Abstract: This paper analyses, through transformation of „the middle class bookcase” as a middle-class culture and education symbol as well as a visible element of the middle-class population's educational status and social standing, the attitude of new Yugoslav authorities toward middle-class heritage, both cultural and spiritual, in the course of the first few years after the World War II. The multiple „middle class bookcase” mnemonic has made possible to overlook the relation at stake in its various segments, forms of manifestation and measures taken. Two general attitudes were identified. The first one, dominating at the beginning of the period, refers to the perception of „the middle class bookcase”, e. g. of both its owners and middle-class writers and their works that kept on feeding its shelves, as expressions of the middle-class governing position with both its cultural domination and cultural exploitation practices, which were meant to be destroyed themselves. The attitude of the kind was demonstrated by the National Liberation Army behavior. The Army was a factor of power which was hard to control, and its behavior was connected to a mixture of prevailing countrymen-fighters' ignorance and a firewood shortage that took place in the winter of 1944–1945. Rich libraries and legacies owned by some of the outstanding middle-class members – among which were both Branko Lazarevic, a writer and a diplomat, and Miroslav Spalajkovic, a diplomat – were partly or completely burnt and swiped. That attitude lost its impetus after a period of peace had started and the administration had been consolidated. However, it did not disappear but was transformed instead – by judicial measures, directives and regulation – into measures and actions the purpose of which was eliminating of both books and writers ideological character of which was perceived as suspicious, and the contents of books as destructive ones. In several occasions a register of forbidden books and writers that should be removed from bookstores, antiquary shops and editorial companies that had not been handed over to the state, used to be made. One of those indexes, made up in early January 1947 as a classification of forbidden literature in nine groups, was in due course verified by judicial decisions. Among the others, it comprised 64 middle-class elite members which were proclaimed either national apostates or ideological and political opponents. Slobodan Jovanovic, Dragisa Vasic, Milos Crnjanski, Pastko Petrovic, Milan Kasanin and Ksenija Atanasijevic are some of those. […] The 20 century social „liberalization” of early sixties made space for both works and writers, which were for the time being disfavored by authorities – M. Kasanin, S. Pandurovic and K. Atanasijevic were among them – to get back to bookcase shelves.

  • Issue Year: 2006
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 122-140
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: Serbian