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Sword, priest and conversion: On religion and apostasy in South Slav literature in the period of National Revival

Milutinović, Z; (2008) Sword, priest and conversion: On religion and apostasy in South Slav literature in the period of National Revival. Geology of Central Europe , 6 (1) 17 - 46. 10.1179/174582108X292821.

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Abstract

This article examines the works of four writers of Croatian, Slovene, Serbian and Bosniak literature in the period of National Revival, in their literary, historical and discursive contexts: Prešern's Krst pri Savici, Mažuranić's Smrt Smail-age Čengića, Njegoš's Gorski vijenac and Bašagić's Abdullah Paša. Three of the four authors were also statesmen, and all four are considered canonical national writers. There is a striking similarity between their otherwise different works, resulting from speeches by priests who either demand and justify conversion, or vehemently oppose it and call for vengeance. In all four works, the enemy is not a foreign conqueror, but an apostate who sides with the conqueror by accepting his faith. Although in all four works the values of the epic and heroic world are pronounced dead, epic action - a 'sword' - is still very much alive. Though the central act of conversion is accompanied by religious symbolism which gives rise to the impression of a clash of religions, in all four works conversion does not have a religious meaning, it is purely political. © W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2008.

Type:Article
Title:Sword, priest and conversion: On religion and apostasy in South Slav literature in the period of National Revival
DOI:10.1179/174582108X292821
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES

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