Peruško, Ivana

The Short Life of Socialist Realism in Croatian Literature (1945–1955) / Peruško, Ivana. - 165-182 str.

The period after the Second World War is a time when a new identity of Croatian Yugoslav literature was formed under the watchful eye of the Soviets. However, it was precisely this first post-war decade which was extremely heterogeneous – both at the institutional and at the poetic levels – because it was then that contradictory tendencies appeared. At that time literature may have depended on extratextual climate more than ever before, that is to say on the specific socio- political regulations and directives which defined its further development, setting both its content and form, trying to deprive it of autonomy in that way. In the first post-war decade, literature, like all other branches of the arts at that time, adopted and reflected two totally opposite political directives – the initial sovietization (1945- 1948) and a fierce desovietization (late 1940s and early 1950s). What is specific to Croatia has to do with the resolution of the Cominform against Yugoslavia in 1948, which was followed by Tito’s famous “No” to Joseph Stalin, which left a mark on the further cultural and artistic development of Croatia. Indeed, some would argue that this symbolic fratricide was much more significant for the further development (and direction) of Croatian literature in the second half of the 20th century, than the initial post-war twinning with Stalinism. Because of the heterogeneous complexity of this first post-war decade, this study will be divided into two parts. In the first part specific examples will be used to illustrate the key aspects of the literary sovietization at two levels – the broader and the narrower level. The second part will be devoted to the problem of the desovietization of the Croatian literary scene in the form of a literary westernization (turning towards tords new coasts), and will inquire into whether the release from the Soviet shackles really resulted in experimentation with literary forms and artistic freedom or whether the famous desovietization was just a well-thought-out marketing ploy, which did not change the literary structure as much as the ruling elite boasted.


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