|Abstract (english)|| |
Historical novels by contemporary Croatian writer FeĊa Šehović (1930.) are only sporadically, and thus not sufficiently systematically, captured in Croatian literary science. Primarily with his attitude towards history (history as cyclicality, returning of same instead of history as a teacher of life), but also with many "building elements" (Matanović), Šehović is placed in the group of those authors of Croatian historical novels (Nedjeljko Fabrio, Ivan Aralica, Stjepan Tomaš, Ivan Supek, Ivica Ivanac, Ludwig Bauer ...), marked by a shift from the traditional historical novel, or the Šenoesque type novel. For some literary scholars (Milanja, Matanović), such a paradigm shift is marked by the terminological determinant of the Croatian new historical novel. Guided by the hypothesis that within the genre of the Croatian historical novel, the act of testimony can be registered as a recognizable poetic designation of the work of FeĊa Šehović, which is why the testimonial position is imposed as an analytical and interpretative starting point, the dissertation was focused on the problematization of testimony in the historical novels of this writer. The analysis included a corpus of those Šehović novels that can be narrowly referred to as the historical novel genre: the ―Dubrovnik trilogy‖ written under the pseudonym Raul Mitrovich (Gorak okus duše, 1983.; OslobaĊanje Ċavola: Kronika, 1986.; Uvod u tvrĊavu: Biblija za nevjernike, 1989.), Ilijasbegović's five books: Cronica travuniana from 2002. (1. Ilijas-beg, kapetan trebinjski; 2. Inšallah; 3. Begovina; 4. Dubrovaĉki intermezzo; 5. Od Mostara do Haaga) and Prokleta ergela (2009.). The concept of testimony in mentioned historical novels of FeĊa Šehović is mostly discussed on the interplay of typology and position problem of both witnesses and documents, while the final chapters of the paper emphasize the constellation of testimony and memory / remembering (presentation of trauma by testimony, testimony in the service of identity representation). The methodological framework is represented by studies on the genre characteristics of the Croatian historical novel, narratological instrumentation, intertextuality theory and cultural memory theory, in whose sphere are included settings about (im)possibility of witnessing trauma and the problems of constructing collective identity representations (imagological vision) through testimony. Although based on a narrative model, testimony is irreducible only to the problem of storytelling (Felman, Derrida), it is inseparable from the categories of responsibility and obligation (Felman) and trust (Derrida). Namely, the witness's speech is always appellate, it is addressed to a certain addressee, who in turn becomes a further witness through a testimonial act, thereby realizing a potentially infinite testimonial chain. In the framework of the theory of speech acts (J. L. Austin), testimony escapes the idea of constatives, in terms of establishing the (in) truthfulness of a testimonial statement. After all, the focus of the testimony is absolutely singular (Derrida), and thus objectively unverifiable. Testimony functions as a performative act — an act by which it acts — whereby the testimony is built on the interaction of its expositive and commissural component. The more visible representation of the mechanism of testimony in modern times may be related to a different attitude of history (in terms of historiography), but also of historical novels toward historiographic material, and thus to the past in general. Although the contemporary Croatian historical novel, including those of Šehović, did not play with history as foreign authors of postmodernist historical novels did, in Croatian literature one cannot but register a different relation to the historical document as an unquestionable authority - this relationship is now based on reevaluation and doubt. Testimonial discourse in the historical novels of FeĊa Šehović primarily functions as a mode of undermining the ideological vision of the historical, whereby preoccupations with constituents gave way to the performative power of the testimonial act itself, and historical factography replaced by the level of individual experience of the historical. The protagonists of recent Croatian historical novels mostly represent historically nameless / insignificant individuals, those who are not actors but victims in the trappings of historical rotation. The only privileged place in talking about historical can be achieved by such individuals as witnesses. Such a position enables them to bring (and) their own (historical) story through their testimonial statement to their addressee, ie the community to which the appeal was addressed. Given the status of the witness figure in the narrative, it can be observed that most of the witnesses have the role of characters, both main / protagonists and side characters. With the dominance of witness-characters, witnesses who do not have the status of a romanesque character since they do not participate in the fabric flow, have found a place, albeit rarely, in the historical novels of FeĊa Šehović. The narrative position of testimony in the Gorak okus duše, OslobaĊanje Ċavola, Prokleta ergela, and most of the Ilijasbegovići five books, that is, most of Šehović's historical novels, is realized by the situation of summoning a Genettian extradiegetic-heterodiegetic narrator on testimony. Only a small number of Šehović's novels gave the witness the narrative status. Thus, witnesses appear as homodiegetic storytellers in the Uvod u tvrĊavu and in the part of Ilijasbegovići. The focalisation positioning of the witness (taking into account the focalization model of the theorist Mieke Bal) is achieved mainly through an external focalizer (external view), which in certain places, for the impression of authenticity and persuasiveness, incorporates into its focalisation point of view and certain focalisation inserts of the witness (Gorak okus duše, OslobaĊanje Ċavola, Prokleta ergela, part of Ilijasbegovići). The purely internal focalization, in terms of presenting visions only from the inside, coincides with the position of the witness as a homodiegetic narrator. In this sense, the symbiosis of the "gaze" and "voice" of the witness is visible in Uvod u tvrĊavu and part of Ilijasbegovići. Taking into account the mimetic modes of Northrop Frye's fictional literature, Šehovic's romanesque witness-protagonists (fra Vincenco and don Vicko in Gorkak okus duše; Andro and Mavro in OslobaĊanje Ċavola; Pepo and Luko in Uvod u tvrĊavu; fra Ilija and fra Andrija in Prokleta ergela; Ilijas-beg - Hasan-beg - Ilijas-beg - Ilijas - Enko in Ilijasbegovići can be described as tragic because it is a case of an individual separated from society. The figure of suffering is underlined by the continued use of the martyrological lexicon. Thus, the protagonists-witnesses are most often referred to as martyrs, and their life paths as torment and Golgoth, thus constructing primarily a Christological model of sacrifice, but also a model of sacrifice in general. However, it is worth pointing out that the sacrifice of these characters is not of high-mimetic mode because they do not suffer from a tragic hamartia, such as Greek heroes or Christian martyrs - their sacrifice is typical or accidental. N. Frye associates this kind of sacrifice with the archetypal figure in ancient pharmacos literature (sacrificial lamb / scapegoat), which in turn can be linked to the fate of Old Testament Job. In this sense, Šehović's subversive reading of Job's fate is noticeable, with the man - God analogy shifted towards the man - ideology analogy. Namely, the suffering of the innocent, instead of the consolidation of faith, leads to a loss of faith and hope, to doubt of all possible types of ideological mechanisms, which, regardless of their omen, always prove to be exclusive and fatal to the existence of the "small" participant in history. Following on from the foregoing, a whole series of Šehović's characters, both primary and secondary witnesses, participate in the construction of a moral witness figure, one that points to the negative aspects of history. During such testimony, sacrifice is set not as sublime but as a senseless act. The narratological construction of the protagonist-witness is mainly developed by the opposition (ideological) believer-unbeliever, thus shaping the figure of (un) beliefs as the umbrella component of the thematic-ideological layer of Šehović's historical novels. Regardless of the initial degree of ideological belief, with minor or major shifts within the characterization process, all protagonist-witnesses are led to the position of ideological unbeliever. The latter issue is directly linked (and) to the societal conflict between writer and authority. In the writer-power relationship, episodes of ideologically (un) justifiable prosecutions come to the fore in Šehović's historical novels, those that are a reaction not only to poetic action in the narrow sense, but also to any action in words that is not aligned with the coordinates of the ruling ideology. And the need to testify in these characters coincides with the need to speak authentically of the lived experience (Foucault's vision of parasian action), of imprinting the historical on personal lives, on one's own bodies. The duty to testify is specifically embedded in the characters of writers who, not only by their own experience (as primary witnesses), but also as the addressees of the testimony of others, are artistically and intellectually responsible for taking on the role of secondary / intellectual witness (Hartman). From this angle, the purpose of testimony also stems from the fusion of the performative nature of the act of testifying with the categories of ethics. The position of the witness in Šehović's historical novels is so emphasized that all the documents within the novel are a reflection of the speech of the witness, which makes it possible to characterize them as testimonial documents. The imperative of writing as the topos of Šehović's novels corresponds to the idea of necessarily textual availability of the past (Hutcheon), and is largely realized by the motive of found and / or preserved records. The discursive classification of (testimonial) documents in Šehović's historical novels reveals their diversity: chronicles, diary fragments, epistolary records, autobiography in the narrow sense, testimonial (camp) literature, essay notes, poetic texts, oral statements and pictorial writings. All kinds of documents, given that they start from the perception of a little man as a witness to events, are highly subjectivized. In addition, these are not documents whose authentication can be found in the archives of empirical reality, as was the case, for example, with Šenoa's preface to the documentary material. In this context, the documents in Šehović's novels are at the same time examples of the so-called weak documents but also paracitate texts. Like other representatives of the contemporary Croatian historical novel (Fabrio, Aralica, Tomaš, Bauer ...), Šehović most often (within all his novels) refers to documentary material within the basic text (sometimes by direct quotation of witnesses' records, sometimes by reported speech). In addition, the incorporation of documents is accomplished by the use of a footnote, a preface note, but also in the case where the entire novel is entirely a sum (collection) of documents (the effect of "self-talk" records). Šehović's novels, in their relationship to the document, completely move away from the general analogy of reality - text and focus on the relationship between texts, thus suggesting the assumption that the past reality is always textually produced. In this vein, all the testimonial documents in the analyzed Šehović's historical novels act primarily as texts - demonstrating their intertextuality as a general feature of each text, both at the insidetextual level (among documents within individual novels) and at the level of the relationship between the documents of the novels and texts of Croatian and world literary heritage. With a foothold in testimonial discourse, the talk of (historical) traumatic in Šehović's historical novels moves away from the sphere of writing about trauma (an attempt to objectively reconstruct past events) towards writing of trauma itself (LaCapra). Writing trauma is writing post-traumatic, affected by the process of work creation and working trough. In light of the mimetic / antimimetic model of reaction to traumatic (Ruth Leys), Šehović points to their non-exclusivity and co-existence with his novels. The concept of history in Šehović's novels, especially across the temporal dimension, corresponds to the inevitable mimetic face of the traumatic, one that involves only the possibility of infinite embodiment. History presented as cyclical, repetitive, bears the mark of a traumatic code: there is no way out of the past because the distinction between past, present and future is abolished, past becomes present and future. On the micro level, the act of testimony enables an attempt to narrate the traumatic and thus the therapeutic effect. In this way, the testimony turns to the attempt to thorough elaboration, finding its place within the framework of an antimimetic reaction to the traumatic one. Testimonial writings within novels published this century (Ilijasbegovići, Prokleta ergela), in particular the Franciscan chronicles and essayistic writings of the characters of the beys and Franciscans, are included in the sphere of cultural memory and memory by questioning the textual production of collective identity ideas. The interactive relationship between self-concept and hetero-conceptions, whose creation can register confessional opposition (Christianity - Islam), Balkanist discourse (Todorova) and the concept of viciousness (Kristeva), builds identity models of Bosniaks (Ilijasbegovići) and Bosnian (Prokleta ergela) based on sacrifice of victimological, not the sacrificial type. The motive of shared suffering, which seeks to present the community with a testimonial act, acts as a cohesive element (Renan) when forming a collective or we-identity (Assmann), despite ethnic and confessional diversity. Testimonial records, through their intertextual chaining, over time form the continuity of thoughts about Bosniak / Bosnian identity, as well as the image of Bosnia in the novels mentioned. Šehović's literary Bosnia grows on the features of interculturalism, which in the literary imaginary occupies a much different position from Andrić's multicultural Bosnia. Further literary scientific interest should be directed both to a more comprehensive coverage of FeĊa Šehović within the framework of Croatian literary science, to extending testimonial issues, to novels that in the narrow sense move away from the genre of the historical novel, as to the intercultural / comparative positioning (Croatian - Bosnian literature) of this contemporary writer.