Peripheral Characters in Ante Kovačić’s Novel “U Registraturi” (“In the Registry Office”) Cover Image

Periferni likovi u romanu „U registraturi” Ante Kovačića
Peripheral Characters in Ante Kovačić’s Novel “U Registraturi” (“In the Registry Office”)

Author(s): Marijana Terić
Subject(s): Croatian Literature, Theory of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: Ante Kovačić; fantastic realism; innovative processes; demonic characters; social depravity
Summary/Abstract: In this paper, the author examines a work of one of the most significant Croatian literary writers, Ante Kovačić, whose novel U registraturi (In the Registry Office) is considered by many literary critics and theoreticians to be the best writing of Croatian realism. It is an author who was not understood at the time when his work appeared, which is why the text was published in the form of a novel with a twenty-three year delay. Nonlinear composition of the text, elements of fantasy literature and innovative literary process in creating a fabula and sujet course of events confused literary critics as well as readership, which points to the fact that Ante Kovačić was treated for a long time as a peripheral author. In this narrative text, the misery and helplessness of peasants and their revolt against their feudal lords in Croatia are described, therefore the object of our analysis will be the characterisation of figures from various layers of society, with a particular focus on the “peripheral characters” of Kovačić’s prose. Using the term “peripheral characters” we will attempt to bring close those characters of subjugated peasants in relation to the feudal-capitalist social layer and thereby emphasise their role in the novel in relation to their fate. Unlike the characters of the peasants – Ivica Kičmanović (whom the social order turns into a lackey and scoundrel); Jožica Zgubidan (the personification of a poor person from Zagorje), Anica (a patriarchal girl with an angelic face); Miha; Perica; the neighbouring Kanoniks; and the Medonjićes – Kovačić brings us harsh, drastic images of moral vacillations in the city in which figures, distorted into caricatures, dominate. By contrasting the rural environment with the city life, the author is writing an “epopee of the village and city” in which the “peripheral characters” become tragic ones. These characters are the carriers of elements of “fantastic realism,” and their function is to show all the depravities of society and to announce the phenomenon of the innovative processes of narration familiar to authors of the modern literature. Finally, we come to the conclusion that Ante Kovačić made a step forward in relation to the generation of realists, with the peripheral position of his creation disappearing with the emergence of modern literary achievements, which ultimately gives the author and his work a polished place in Croatian literature.

  • Page Range: 272-285
  • Page Count: 14
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Language: Croatian