Writing Difference / Claiming General Validity

Jovan Dučić's Cities and Chimaeras and the West

in Journeys
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  • 1 University of Novi Sad
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The travel texts of Jovan Dučić (1872-1943) merit analysis not only because he is generally regarded as a significant and influential modernist writer (his lyrics, refined in phrasing and form, show the influence of the Parnassians and the Symbolists), but also because he is a prominent figure in the modernization of Serbian culture. As early as 1936, Dučić's contemporary Nikola Mirković stressed the importance of the poet's role in the process of 'the modernization of Serbian literature and culture' (Mirković 1936: 335). By the same token, he is widely considered by both literary scholars and the public to have been obsessed with 'the great and wise West' (Deretić 1987: 205) - a writer who brought about a great synthesis of Serbian and Western literature, especially in his poetry from the first decades of the twentieth century. His letters from Switzerland, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Palestine and Egypt appeared first in literary magazines and/or in the influential Belgrade newspaper Politika. The separate parts of his travelogue were then collected under the title of Gradovi i himere [Cities and Chimaeras], and were published twice during the author's life, in 1930 and 1940. The book is both a text about culture (or cultures), as well as an indispensable text within Serbian national culture.

Journeys

The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing

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