Canon and its Others in the 19th Century Croatian Literature
Marina Protrka (University of Zagreb)
The concepts of literature and world literature in particular, as envisaged by Goethe and then redefined by Marx and others, declare themselves to be universal, extensive and inclusive principles which overarch "national one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness". Conceived around the idea of the "true progress of mankind" as well as a utopian vision of self-fulfilling human nature, these concepts are based on the universalistic Kantian aesthetics, particularly the judgment of taste inherent to it. Instead of being universal, however, this judgment turned out to be highly distinctive in its performance and restrictive in its access to the cultural capital.
A distinctiveness of the distinctions made by the judgment of taste, as Bourdieu has shown, supported the existing hegemony of social system, producing different sorts of inequalities between nations and within them, which is why there were always some more equal than others. The universalistic aesthetics resulted in the hidden national, sexual, class or race supremacies, creating colonial subordination, de-privileged individuals and groups. My presentation will address the performative aspects of the self-legitimizing procedure of this universalistic aesthetics in 19th century Croatian literature, its constitution against the western literary canon, as well as its strategies of the iterative self-institution through the implementation of the principle of exclusion/inclusion.