This book examines the theoretical devices of "Yugoslav" and "post-Yugoslav" literature. The author analyzes selected literary examples from the region through the lens of a contemporary post-Deleuzean philosophy of time, extricating discussions of post-ism from traditional chronological framing.
Aleksandar Mijatović is associate professor in the department of Croatian language and literature at the University of Rijeka.
Introduction: A Temporality of the Concept of (Post)-Yugoslav Literature: A Critical Approach toward (Post)-Yugoslav Studies?
Chapter1: The ‘Post-’ of (Post)-Yugoslav Literatures: An Outline of the Literary Study of the Temporalities of Parentheses and Hyphens
Chapter 2: The Time of Dispossession: The Conflict, Composition and Geophilosophy of Revolution in East Central Europe
Chapter 3: The Time of Disappearing—From Memory to Becoming-(Post)-Yugoslav in Daša Drndić’s novel Leica Format: Reading the Dissolution of (Post)-Yugoslav Time through Bergson’s, Benjamin’s, and Deleuze’s Concepts of Temporality
Chapter 4: The Mono-chronological ‘Post’: The Synchronization of the Meanwhiles of Nations in Antun Barac’s and Pavle Popović’s Histories of Yugoslav Literature and Relation to the Concept of (Post)-Yugoslav Literature
Chapter 5: Remembering the Future: Narration and Fabulation in Dubravka Ugrešić’s novels The Ministry of Pain and Baba Yaga Laid an Egg
Chapter 6: The Floating Middle: (Post)modern Time, Transition, and (Post)-Yugoslav Literature
Chapter 7: The Voice of the Mother’s Secret—The Secret of the Mother’s Voice: The Acoustics of Memory in David Albahari's Novel Bait
In the present of unfinished and devastating post-socialist transition, the struggle for meaning and comprehension of historical experiences continues. Taking its insights from literature, and drawing on a sophisticated grasp of theories of temporality, Aleksandar Mijatović makes the powerful claim that cultural forms of writing demonstrate notions of belonging that transcend governmental and nation-state teleologies. This is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding post-Yugoslav cultural spaces.
Mijatović's book underlines the importance of temporal structures in defining literary phenomena, thus especially reconsidering actual approaches to post-Yugoslav literature. Social, economic, and political processes are therefore interpreted as pure deflections, unwilling to be subordinated or framed by a single historical or ideological flow, whereby the term of ‘post-Yugoslav literature,’ as an asynchronous simultaneity, often engages with its counterparts—i.e. transnationalism, cosmopolitism and multiculturalism—in a most compelling way. Mijatović offers a vivid understanding of the idea of national literature, as well as its representative figures—Antun Barac and Pavle Popović, Daša Drndić, Dubravka Ugrešić, David Albahari etc.—stemming from different discourses and origins—from ethnic, linguistic, social, class, racial, cultural, all the way to tribal, thus utterly fragmented and partial. State-centered concepts of literary field, as well as those endorsed by linguistic advocacy, are therefore successfully deconstructed by Mijatović's employment of asynchronous simultaneity, inspired by various notions of time as discussed by Bergson, Benjamin, Bhabha, Deleuze, Lévinas, Lyotard, Massumi, and Ricoeur.
Using innovative approaches to the contested realm of post-Yugoslav literatures, Aleksandar Mijatović examines literary works of several significant figures, including Danilo Kiš, Daša Drndić, Dubravka Ugrešić, and David Albahari. Theorizing the notion of temporality to analyze the multi-layered notion of Yugoslavia, Mijatović incisively speaks to the process of painful political and cultural transition during breakup of the common imaginary space into the newly conceived notions of national literature in each of its constituent republics. This work continues the tradition of comparative Slavic studies and takes them in a direction that is both fruitful and insightful for every scholar of the South Slavic region.
Aleksandar Mijatović analyzes an aspect of the concept of post-Yugoslav literature that is usually not systematically reflected upon: temporality. He points out different levels of meaning which depend on the underlying concepts and spellings. Mijatović prefers the spelling with a parenthesized and hyphenated ‘post’ because it indicates, according to Emmanuel Lévinas and Homi K. Bhabha, a simultaneity of the idea and its image(s), and emphasizes the meanwhile as the relevant time. A multiple and de-synchronized concept of time is outlined from a philosophical perspective and discussed with regard to literary works by Daša Drndić, Dubravka Ugrešić, and David Albahari. This is a must-read!
Aleksandar Mijatović proposes a temporally conceived conceptualization of post-Yugoslav literature in terms of asynchronous simultaneity explicitly countering what he perceives to be the homogenizing and stabilizing trends in much of post-Yugoslav studies. In an intriguing blend of continental philosophy, postcolonial theory, memory studies, and what can only be called a theoretically acute tour de force, Mijatović enlists thinkers as diverse as Homi Bhabha, Walter Benjamin, Paul Ricœur, and Gilles Deleuze for his compelling discussions of a range of post-Yugoslav literary texts. Temporalities of Post-Yugoslav Literature is a welcome and incisive intervention in the theorization of post-Yugoslav studies, contemporary literature, and literary temporality.