20th century Albanian literature refracted through itself and the others Cover Image

Letërsia shqipe e shekullit XX në përthyerje me veten dhe me tjetrin/tjetrën
20th century Albanian literature refracted through itself and the others

Author(s): Muhamet Hamiti
Subject(s): Albanian Literature, Sociology of Culture, Sociology of the arts, business, education, Theory of Literature, Sociology of Politics
Published by: Univeristeti i Prishtinës, Fakulteti i Filologjisë
Keywords: Albanian literature of the 20th century; the other; high literature; low literature; Socialist Realism; literary criticism;

Summary/Abstract: Twentieth-century Albanian literature was produced in a flux of refractions with its own self and the Other. The specificity of our literature lies in the nature and kinds of these refractions which are bound by internal and external laws, but also literary and political exigencies. The pre-modern (late Romantic) and modern Albanian literature of the first half of the century as well as the Socialist Realist and modern and modernist literature of the second half of the century was accompanied by the literary criticism, the non-fiction literature, which varied in its range of originality as much as fiction did. The Albanian literature of the twentieth century - which sounds like our century for people as old as the author of this paper - was refracted through the national and the political. In extremis, the politicization of literature and the politicization of literary scholarship occurred in the half-century of Socialist Realist literature in Albania, of Socialist Realism as a quasi-literary method and vehicle for control of the minds and hearts of Albanians in dictator Enver Hoxha’s Albania. Kosovo, under Yugoslav dictator Tito, was not spared entirely of this calamity either, although it emerged less scathed from it due to a different political environment.A high literature, an authentic literature, was produced in Albania in the first half of the century, as was the case also in both Albania and Kosovo in the second half of the century. A low literature, either poor or in the service to power, was written throughout the century, especially during the era of Socialist Realism in Albania, when literature as such and literary scholarship aped the Soviet variant, an unprecedented plagiarism which had become the policy of the Marxist-Leninist establishment, both of its commissars and its academic cabal. This is more evident for many now in hindsight, from the perspective of the 21st century, although, to their credit, the Albanian scholars from Kosovo and the Diaspora had exposed it in the last three decades of the century.Who is the Other in and of the 20th century Albanian literature? How does it affect the literature in its own right and the literature of the second degree, literary criticism? What was the Self for authentic, high literature (tradition, values of Albanian identity, bearings with(in) the Western cultural milieu) materialized often as the Other (the conservative, the alien, the hostile) for the low literature of Socialist Realism. Modern and modernist literary tendencies which emerged in the literature of the second half of the century, sometimes in close quarters time-wise with original developments elsewhere, became the Other, the assailable, for the prevailing low literature canonized by the Communist regime. The ubiquitous range and influence of this literature is evidenced by a mediocre literature which submitted itself unwittingly to it. The agon (struggle) for aesthetic supremacy between high and low literature was incessant. Literary criticism was a participant and arbiter in this agon.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 35
  • Page Range: 593 - 601
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Albanian