THREE CONTEMPORARY EXAMPLES OF WRITING LITERARY HI/STORY ANEW: VINKO BREŠIĆ, KREŠIMIR BAGIĆ AND LEO RAFOLT BETWEEN PHILOLOGY, IDEOLOGY AND HI/STORY

Author:
Boris Škvorc
Email:
bskvorc@ffst.hr
Summary
This article discusses three recent books that deal with the Croatian literary hi/story. In the first part of the work we discuss the issues of the contemporary post-structural and deconstructionist view of writing history. The argument is based on Alun Munslow’s thesis that it is not possible to write hi/story outside the narrative genre. The starting point of discussion is that hi/story (of literature) is only one of possible modal practices of narration/narrative. This means that history can only be read as one of many narratives while simultaneously it reflects the narrative that is produced by its nature/mode. That in many ways changes the way in which today, in poststructuralist and postmodern perspective, one can (and will) interpret the tradition of literary history as a “practical activity” (interpretation of meaning and/or philological discipline) but also as a story (construction). The tradition of Croatian literary history is very much dependent on the narrative(s) of the nation, the idea of its continuity in time (“diachronic development”) and on viewing literature as the narration of the nation, or as a major way of preserving national memory. In most books on the 19th and the 20th century national literary history this was the prevailing viewpoint of scholars who were constructing the Croatian cannon and national narrative as “agreed upon” hi/story “of the nation” (and its literary memory/canon). The three books discussed in this article, each in its particular way (methodologically and by its idea of how to interpret texts), change, or at least contribute to the change of this traditionalist storytelling that has become hi/story (of national literature). This article simultaneously challenges the tradition of (literary) history writing and interprets various aspects of reading hi/story anew in the works by three contemporary authors. It puts in perspective three different types of “politics of small differences” that form the basis of the original contributions. Brešić’s study into the Croatian 19th century literature shifted from writing the hi/story of writers and national narratives towards the modes of presentation and study of genres. Bagić’s study of contemporary literature for the first time treats traditional literary genres and new media, as well as popular culture, equally, thus allowing new insight into the possibilities of studying both fiction and its discursive frames. The third book discussed here introduces the discussion of the role that contemporary questioning of humanities as a discipline has in both post-structural environment and interpretative community of scholars. In conclusion, the article discusses the possibilities of reading (literary) history anew in the hegemonic environment of school system, academia and cultural paradigm of the “nation”.
Key words
literary history; philology; ideology; interpretation; canon; Vinko Brešić; Leo Rafolt; Krešimir Bagić
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