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Literary practice of Croatian writers in Germany 1990-2013

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In this thesis are described and analysed literary practices of Croatian writers who lived and wrote in Germany during the period from 1990 to 2013, from the disintegration of Yugoslavia to the accession of Croatia to the European Union. Since literary production is largely influenced by the socio-economic position, occupational and legal status of the author, for the purpose of this thesis we have defined three groups of Croats, and consequently of Croatian writers who lived and worked in Germany within the studied time frame: writers political emigrants, writers Croatian civil servants and writers economic migrants, or writers descendants of economic migrants. We corroborate such subdivision by the fact that there are two outstanding groups of our compatriots in Germany according to their position and role in the society: political emigrants and Croatian civil servants, while all others, regardless of their extreme heterogeneity, can be defined as economic migrants in the sense of their position and status. Political emigrants, i.e. persons who emigrated to Germany primarily for political reasons, because they disagreed with the political system, which was why their very lives were often threatened, represent a quantitatively small but by their literary production and especially by their cultural activities a very important group. In the literary work of Malkica Dugeč, Vjenceslav Čižek, Ivan Ott, Gojko Borić, Jozo Mršić, Hrvoje Lorković and others, their political activism is continuously present, their engagement for radical socio-political changes in the homeland. The establishment of the sovereign Croatian state brings a huge change into their lives and some of them, after the initial enthusiasm, become somewhat disoriented since the key goal of their political struggle is achieved: a sovereign and independent Republic of Croatia is established but it is of course different from the Croatia that all of them and every one of them have dreamed of and longed for. Their contacts with the homeland intensify, some of them even return to Croatia, which is reflected in their style, motifs and themes of their writing. In the thesis, we have dealt in more detail with the literary creation of the productive poetess Malkica Dugeč, a long time active participant of the cultural and political struggle in the Croatian emigration, whose work has a certain reception even in the homeland and who is the winner of several relevant literary awards. The second group that we have selected is represented by our countrymen who conditionally fall under a common denominator – Croatian civil servants. The persons in question have been detached by the Croatian state or Catholic church to work at foreign posts as diplomats, priests, teachers and the like. They do not belong to emigrants or migrants in the usual sense since their employer is the Catholic church or one of the central administrative bodies of the Republic of Croatia and their primary professional assignment is to act in the educational, political and/or religious sense in Croatian communities and in the non-segmented German society. It is noticeable that in this group as well literary production is very frequent, which of course is not astonishing taking into account the sociological structure and lifestyles of the representatives of this group. We have analysed the creation of Jozo Župić, Adolf Polegubić, Acija Alfirević, Luka Marković, Miroslav Lovčanin and Mladen Lucić. The representatives of this group, in their professional engagement as well as in their literary work, often possess a thread, even intention, of “enlightenment”. This can also be observed in the literary creation of an author whose work we have researched more in detail, Fr. Jozo Župić, a priest who is active for decades in Croatian Catholic missions in Germany, who was a columnist of a Croatian daily newspaper for a number of years and whose short stories are very popular among our countrymen abroad, but also have a reception in the homeland. All the other Croats belong to a heterogeneous and very numerous group of economic migrants, whether they are „Gastarbeiter“ in the narrowest meaning of the word, who went to Germany from the 60ies in the 20th century until today to seek their fortune, or persons who came to Germany for the reasons of marriage or family reunification, or persons who came to Germany for study or professional training, or persons who left Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina as refugees during the Homeland war and have, all of them, stayed on in Germany first of all because of better living conditions. This group comprises a vast majority, more than 99% of our compatriots, so that in this regard and compared to the two earlier mentioned groups a proportionally relatively more modest literary production can be stated. But undoubtedly there are numerous and very productive authors among them, some of which are a part of the canon of Croatian and/or German literature. From the older generation authors, we have included Irena Vrkljan, Dragutin Trumbetaš, Nada Pomper Gulija, Zdravko Luburić, Zvonko Plepelić and Pero Mate Anušić. We have studied more in detail the creative work of Irena Vrkljan, an established author who after having moved to Berlin continued her fruitful and rich literary work. At that time a very highly valued poetess in Croatia, i.e. Yugoslavia, continued to write poetry but she also wrote a few novels that reach the peak of literary production in Croatian literature at the turn of the millennium in general. It is a noticeable fact that in literature the young generation is strongly present, usually descendants, the second generation of economic migrants who for the most part write in German language about “Croatian” themes. It should be said that their literary works function very well as an integral part of German literature but since we live in the times when one should not be exclusive in defining identities but open and “inclusive” (“and” instead of “or”) this should not prevent us from reading them also as the works of Croatian literature. The most outstanding authors are Jagoda Marinić, Marica Bodrožić, Nicol Ljubić and Nataša Dragnić. The Croatian origin have in Germany very successful crime fiction writers Silvija Hinzmann and Zoran Drvenkar. A successful younger generation author who writes in Croatian is Marijana Dokoza. Since the aim of this thesis is to research and analyse the literary practices of Croatian writers who live and work in Germany, because of the specificity of her work, excellent reception in Germany as well as considerable reception in Croatia, we have analysed the literary creation of Jagoda Marinić who we regard as a Croatian and a German writer. Since the works of the listed authors, with the exception of Irena Vrkljan and partly Jagoda Marinić, Marica Bodrožić, Malkica Dugeč and Adolf Polegubić, do not have an appropriate reception in the homeland, it is an important aim of our research to describe and analyse their literary production as well as present and bring it closer to the Croatian literary public in order to create the preconditions for the integration of their works into the corpus of Croatian literature, and the works of certain authors even into the canon of Croatian literature. In the course of research for the purpose of professional description and definition as well as systematisation into the existing perception of Croatian literature, fundamental literature has been used from the field of literary history and literary theory, in addition available literature about the literary practices of the listed authors in the observed period as well as professional and scientific works from other fields: philosophy, sociology, political science etc., also stressing the analytical, comparatist and interdisciplinary approach to research. Since because of the very outstanding position and role of the images of Croatia, Yugoslavia and Germany in the vast majority of the works in question the imagological theory is very suitable, in this thesis, besides the fundamental research and systematisation of the corpus, the original literary material is processed through the imagological prism. In the thesis, a two-way influence is researched and confirmed, of the Croatian community in which it appears on the literary production as well as of the literary production on the community. Although in our time the social function of literature is changed and so are the key factors of national identification, the influence of literary practices of the listed authors on the conservation and development of the Croatian identity of our countrymen who live in Germany has been established.

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