1st Edition

Bosnian Authors in a European Window A Comparative Study

By Keith Doubt Copyright 2024

    The study compares three Bosnian authors with three European titans: The poet Mak Dizdar to Homer, the novelist Meša Selimović to Fyodor Dostoevsky, and the novelist Ivo Andrić to Leo Tolstoy. The purpose is to move the appreciation of the writing of the most important Bosnian writers of the 20th century closer to the European literary community and to the wholeness of the literary phenomenon. Secondary literature on the Bosnian authors is too narrow, focusing on their ethnic heritages and the Balkan milieu in which they write and missing something essential to a critical appreciation of their works. The study creates not only affinities but, more importantly, amitiés between the authors. The discipline of comparative literature reveals what is missing in the secondary literature, namely, a vision of the literary universe, inclusive and comprehensive. 





    Part I.  Homer and Mak Dizdar


    1. The Greek Spirit and Pious Irony in the Poetry of Mak Dizdar

    2. Mak Dizdar’s Over-Writing of Homer’s Odyssey: A Bloomian Analysis of a Bosnian Poet

    3. The Literary Interpretation of Mak Dizdar’s Poem, "Blue-Violet River”


    Part II.  Fyodor Dostoevsky and Meša Selimović

    4. Comparing Meša Selimović’s Dervish and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Underground Man

    5. The Drama of Double-Voiced Discourse in the Prose Writing of Meša Selimović and Fyodor Dostoevsky



    Part III.  Leo Tolstoy and Ivo Andrić


    6.  Scapegoating and Martyrdom in the Works of Ivo Andrić and Leo Tolstoy

    7. Heroines’ Suicides in the Works of Ivo Andrić and Leo Tolstoy with Genevieve Tripp

    8. Theorizing History in the Works of Ivo Andrić and Leo Tolstoy

    9. The Idealization of Women in the Novels of Ivo Andrić and Leo Tolstoy with Genevieve Tripp


    Conclusion: The Case for Comparative Literature: Constructing Amitiés




    Keith Doubt has authored literary essays on the works of William Shakespeare, Ivo Andrić and Meša Selimović, and books on the cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the impact of the war on this cultural heritage.

    Bosnian Authors in a European Window: A Comparative Study succeeds at positioning the most important Bosnian writers of the twentieth century in the European literary context at a time when the political circumstances in Bosnia and Herzegovina deem this a bare necessity. This study is essential for readers who want to learn more about foundational works of Bosnian-Herzegovinian literature and European cultural memory.

    -Selma Veseljević Jerković, Associate Professor, University of Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina


     By comparing three outstanding Bosnian/ex-Yugoslav authors with three canonical European writers and their literary works, Keith Doubt's study has filled an important lacuna in the study of European and World literature, showing that there is no such thing as a “small” literature.

    -Selma Raljević, Associate Professor, Džemal Bijedić University of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina


    Keith Doubt applies his comprehensive knowledge and profound understanding of the Balkans to shed new light on literary, sociological, philosophical and anthropological aspects of Bosnian classics in a way that places the literature of this small European nation within the circle of giants.

     -Amira Sadiković, Associate Professor,  University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Dr. Doubt’s tireless work promoting Bosnian culture and literature over the past several decades has incalculably helped English speaking audiences to see a brighter side of Bosnia; one not mared by war. This book is a fantastic continuance of that legacy, and one can only hope that it helps to increase interest in the Bosnian writers under consideration.

     - Farasha Euker, Author and member of the Spirit of Bosnia Online Journal Advisory Board

     Doubt’s book provokes literary critics to think beyond ethnic and national boundaries, joining calls of others for a ‘new humanism’ in literary criticism using comparative literary techniques as mechanism for highlighting timeless aspects of authors’ works. Here, works by Mak Dizdar, Meša Selimović, and Ivo Andrić are placed on the stage of global importance.

     -Stephanie Krueger, Czech Technical University in Prague