Predmet je istraživanja ovoga rada modernistički pokret mladih kao hrvatski slučaj šireg fenomena fin de siècle modernizma. Kako su dosadašnja istraživanja uglavnom bila disciplinarno profilirana te su se fokusirala na određeni aspekt djelatnosti pokreta, u ovome se radu fenomenu želi pristupiti cjelovito, razmatrajući modernistički pokret jednako u domeni politike i kulture. Kronološki je fokus na razdoblju između 1895. i 1903. godine, što se obično smatra vremenskim određenjem trajanja samoga pokreta. U dijakronijskoj perspektivi postavlja se osnovna istraživačka teza da pokret mladih predstavlja mehanizam smjene generacija u okviru hrvatske građanske političke i kulturne elite. S obzirom na to da se modernistički pokret u Hrvatskoj razvija kroz proces aproprijacija i prilagodbi stranih kretanja, prvenstveno srednjoeuropskim posredovanjem, spacijalni je fokus analize na isprepletenom imperijalnom prostoru Zagreba, Beča i Praga. U tom se smislu postavlja druga temeljna teza o načinima aproprijacija suvremenih intelektualnih strujanja koji obuhvaćaju direktnu imitaciju izvora, ali i prilagodbe uvjetovane specifičnim hrvatskim kontekstom. U teorijsko-metodološkom smislu rad se oslanja na intelektualnu historiju kao historijsku subdisciplinu, posebice na njezine kontekstualističke pristupe, uz snažne poticaje transnacionalnih pristupa i interdisciplinarnosti, napose kada je riječ o povijesti književnosti. Rad se prvenstveno temelji na interpretaciji tekstova modernističke provenijencije objavljenih u brojnim časopisima mladih. Kako se ne bi izgubila dimenzija personalnih odnosa, idiosinkrazija i divergentnih strujanja unutar samoga pokreta, osim javno objavljenih tekstova analizira se korespondencija i privatni zapisi iz osobnih arhivskih fondova. Sve to bi, uz rekonstrukciju specifičnog hrvatskog kulturnog i političkog konteksta, trebalo rezultirati stvaranjem cjelovite slike o modernističkim strujanjima u Hrvatskoj na prijelomu 19. i 20. stoljeća.
The topic of this PhD dissertation is the Croatian modernist Movement of the Youth as a local iteration of the global and transnational phenomenon of fin de siècle modernism. Although chronologically located at around 1900, this movement is often cited as playing a pivotal role for the development of Croatian culture and politics in the whole first half of the 20th century. Because of this, the research is focused on the intellectual formation of a generation that is going to have a profound influence on Croatian cultural and political development, including the transition to the Yugoslav state. The research is conceptually framed on two axes. The first is diachronic in nature and deals with the question of continuities and discontinuities with established political and cultural notions and practices dominant in Croatian public, cultural and political life at the time. The second is synchronic and investigates the ways in which historical actors – adherents and activists of the Croatian modernist movement – transferred and appropriated ideas and practices stemming from other European modernist movements of the time, especially in Vienna and Prague. This aspect of the research owes primarily to the theoretical and methodological impetuses put forward by transnational and entangled history, thus enriching and expanding the more nationally-oriented perspective inherent to the first, diachronic axis. Other than that, the main theoretical and methodological framework is that of intellectual history, especially the contextualist and externalist apporaches that focus on the usages of ideas and concepts by the historical actors in specific contexts and situations. The public demonstration of the Croatian students during the visit of the Emperor Franz Joseph on October 16th 1895, in which they burned the Hungarian flag in sign of protest against ban Khuen's regime and Croatia's subdualistic arrangement within the Monarchy is often cited in the historiographical literature as the beginning of the Movement of the Youth. In reality, though, the students who carried out this demonstration made up a very heterogeneous group and had no intention of making it a public announcement of a new political project or party. Only what followed triggered the events that would lead to the emergence of the full-fledged Movement of the Youth. As a consequence of the government reprisals, the expelled Croatian students continued their studies at Cisleithenian universities, mostly in Vienna and Prague, where they came into contact with new, modernist ideas. Yet, at the same time, the relationship between the Movement to its more famous counterparts – the Viennese modernist movement and the Prague progressivist and realist movement – remains ambiguous. Although it is clear that the student activists of the Movement of the Youth were clearly under the impression of their respective milieus, they were nevertheless primarily engaged with the Croatian public, its politics and culture. This raises the central question of the modalities of the Croatian modernist movement’s entanglement with other Austrian and broader European modernisms. The Croatian modernist movement was not purely an imitation of broader modernist currents, so a more nuanced model which takes into account different contexts needs to be employed in order to fully examine the complex interactions between various actors, ideas and practices. The universities in Prague and Vienna had already been established as popular destinations for students from all over Croatia. The difference with the student emigration that started to arrive at these universities in 1896 is that they carried with themselves a symbolic capital in the eyes of the public and were already invested in politics. By reading their letters, we can see that they were consciously building a movement that should carry out the mission of changing Croatian culture, society and politics. This movement, comprised of student and youth groups in Prague, Vienna, Zagreb, Osijek, Split and Karlovac came to be known as the Movement of the Youth (mladi) or the Progressive Youth Movement (napredna omladina). In historiographical literature we can find heuristic divisions of the Movement in the so-called Prague and Vienna groups, and sometimes the separate Zagreb and high-school groups. The Prague and Zagreb groups were supposedly more invested in politics and social questions, the latter also focusing more on the question of nationhood and Serbo-Croat relations, while the Vienna group concentrated on literature and art, drawing heavy influences from fin de siècle Viennese cultural developments. This division can, however, somewhat obscure the reality of the interconnected functioning of these groups as part of the Movement of the Youth in general. This was mirrored in existing research on the topic, which was disciplinary focused and therefore fragmented. Historiography was mostly interested in the Prague group and the politics of the Movement, while art history and history of literature examined mostly the artistic aspects of the Movement. One of the main goals of this PhD dissertation is to offer a comprehensive survery of the topic, surpassing the narrow disciplinary focus. In order to do that, we have to focus on the Movement in its entirety when examining its distinctive ideological and political positions and practice, which presuposses employing an interdisciplinary perspective, especially with regards to history of literature and art history. Even though the centers of the formation of the Movement were abroad, it had to ideologically position itself according to the current political and cultural situation in Croatia. The students in Prague were impressed with the successes of Czech national politics and were ardent admirers of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk’s thought, proclaiming themselves “political realists”. Yet at the same time they were very well aware that Croatia was not as near as developed as the Czech lands and that they would have to adapt the ideas they appropriated to the current needs and situation of their homeland. The mladi saw themselves as the true successors of the Illyrian project and as rejuvenators of Croatian politics and Yugoslav ideology in the form of Serbo-Croat national unity. Yet this rejuvenation was not a simple imitation. The very problem they identified with Croatian culture and politics is that it was not up to date with current developments in modern Europe. Therefore, there could be no return to old forms. The forces of tradition had to be brought into conjunction with the present needs and practices. The mladi primarily demanded the transformation or development of a new national intelligentsia based on modern, positivist knowledge of the people and their needs, as well as on the strong individual character that had to be shaped through education. The goal was to make existing national politics more effective in new, mass politics circumstances. The real subject of politics were still not the people, but their representatives embodied in bourgeois intelligentsia. This was actually a reformulation of the role of the preporoditelj (national reformer/revivalist), its (re)appropriation and adaptation to new political circumstances and needs. One of the main theses of this PhD dissertation is that the Movement of the Youth largely played a part in the generational change within the Croatian political and cultural élite of the time. Although their criticism might have sounded radical, in practice it was an inner critique aimed at reforming, and not destroying the existing national political and cultural traditions. The appropriations of modernist ideas were thus used by the mladi to reform bourgeois Croatian culture and politics, to bring it up to date with current developments and to establish themselves as part of the national élite in the process. We can trace the same notions in culture as in politics. Croatian literature at that time was dominated by a romanticist-realist stylistic nexus which was heavily burdened by earlier, founding traditions, political considerations and, most of all, the particular interests of the national élites that had control over the most important cultural institutions. The result, especially in the eyes of the mladi, was isolation from the broader European cultural currents and stagnation behind closed provincial walls. The beginning of the Croatian modernist movement in literature can be attributed to the before mentioned Vienna group of the Modernist Movement which published their ideas and texts in three successive journals titled Youth, The Croatian Salon and Life. Joining the Viennese and Prague Secession and Modernism, they called for complete artistic freedom, criticized the political instrumentalization of art and proclaimed the need for the incorporation of Croatian literature into modern European artistic trends. Not all of the Movement agreed, though. Especially those members that were close to the Prague group emphasized that art should continue to play a national role and that the turn to Europe should not mean a blind imitation, but an inspiration to create literature rooted in national traditions. The question of national literature, its role and function, as well as its preferred stylistic orientation and content, became crucial in the ensuing polemic between the stari and mladi which raged most intensely in the cultural sphere. Yet focusing only on the national context of the debate will surely obscure the ways in which both sides drew from the broader, European reservoir of ideas and practices to reinforce their own position. These transfers came in many forms: borrowing, translation, imitation, emulation and appropriation. Sometimes writers and artists imitated European modernist role models to fashion themselves as ‘modern’, increasing their social capital in fin de siècle café society. This opens the question of the limitations of modernist appropriations which is one of the main themes of the research. The comparison with other neighbouring movements and a transnational perspective of their interaction brings forth a thesis that the specific character of the Croatian modernist movement at the turn of the 20th century consisted in the domination of the political over the cultural and artistic aspects, in conjunction with the focus on the question of the national intelligentsia, which was the result of the implementation of contemporary modernist concepts in a specific Croatian cultural and political context.