Crossing Borders

Maike Albath:

Tango Balkanico! Croatia’s Literary Scene

In the beginning, there was an island: the Croatian Hvar is one of the cradles of southern Slavic literature. The poet Petar Hektorović, a well-educated humanist and master Latinist, lived here in the 16th century. Hektorović also penned the famous bucolic poem “Fishing and Fishermen’s Conversation,” which was written in vernacular. Far removed from nationalism and questions relating to language, Hektorović started writing about reality and the truth. After all the wars which have taken place in the Balkan region, what is now left of his vision? And how has Croatia’s literary scene evolved over the past few years? Faro Pis, the annual literature festival held on the island of Hvar, provides a good insight into the literary scene. Amidst a rather culturally inactive environment, regional writers and satirists regularly perform in front of capacity crowds. Whether prose, theater, or multilingual poetry, here Croatian literature shows what it can be - a refuge for freedom and utopia.

Broadcast on SWR2 in February 2009
A feature by Maike Albath
Editorial staff: Anja Brockert

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