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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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The Spirit of the Kakanian Province

The Spirit of the Kakanian Province

(p.288) (p.289) 19 The Spirit of the Kakanian Province
After Yugoslavia

Dubravka Ugrešić

Stanford University Press

Foregrounding the legacies of the Habsburg Empire in Croatian literature, UgreŠić examines the literary trope of unhappy return in nineteenth-century novel – a male Croatian protagonist leaves for the West to study and comes back disillusioned, succumbing eventually to madness and death. In a reversed form of Bildungsroman, these provincial heroes find success abroad, but are met with disdain at home. There is an ongoing tension between the Habsburg periphery and its center, in which the protagonist always succumbs to the destructive pull of the peripheral homeland. This colonized mentality in which the periphery is evoked as a historical victim was continued into literary postmodernity. After the destruction of the shared Yugoslav space, UgreŠić argues, a re-provincialization has spread in the new national territories, which could only be mitigated by a new literary republic that eschews national, religious, and ethnic affiliations in favor of a community of arts.

Keywords:   imperial legacies, Kakania, provinces, metropolis, periphery and center, colonized mentality, shared Yugoslav space, re-provincialization, Republic of Letters, metaphysical palanka

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