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After YugoslaviaThe Cultural Spaces of a Vanished Land$
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Radmila Gorup

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804784023

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804784023.001.0001

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Traumatic Experiences

Traumatic Experiences

War Literature in Bosnia and Herzegovina Since the 1990s

(p.218) (p.219) 14 Traumatic Experiences
After Yugoslavia

Davor Beganović

Stanford University Press

This chapter parallelizes two periods in Yugoslav history: the aftermath of World War I and the years after the 1990s Yugoslav civil wars. The patterns established in expressionist literature (KrleŽa) and melancholically-styled modernism (Andrić) are modified and reused by authors writing about war experiences in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Literature about besieged Sarajevo appropriates the modernist concept of melancholy and applies it to the newly created space of the city, one that is now imagined as strange. It is suggested that the reinterpretation of modernist styles enacts a topographical approach. Literature describing the experiences of traumatized soldiers uses the grotesque as a rhetorical device for creating innovative temporal structure. The works of Josip Mlakić and Faruk Šhehić are examined to show how this mainly autobiographical experience is abundant with grotesque and carnivalesque moments and how it relies on elements of black humor to overcome the horrors witnessed by the narrators.

Keywords:   Sigmund Freud, Bosnian war literature, trauma, melancholy, mourning, expressionistic literature, styled modernism, autobiographic experience, black humor, the literature of besieged Sarajevo

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