Sitemap

Professor Dr. Aleksandar Jerkov, Director of University Library “Svetozar Marković”

We Would Have Something To Show To The World

You never know where life will take you – I was good at mathematics, played chess, considered studying astrophysics and dealt with electrical engineering, and after a decisive encounter at the 10th Belgrade Gymnasium, I went off to study Serbian, Yugoslav and World Literature, earned my PhD degree and became a full professor of the 20th Century Serbian Literature

While studying, I was the editor of the then still renowned weekly “Student” and the magazine “Vidici”, and later, already being a professor, became the editor-in-chief of Prosveta, Plato and Mono and Manjana, edited and published hundreds of top titles and collected works. I enjoyed it all, and wondered what I needed it all for, and yet I launched the publishing activities of the University Library, which I’ve been managing for some time, and the last autumn, together with the Official Gazette, received the Award for Publishing Venture of the Year at the Book Fair – for selected works of great Serbian scientists who were also writers, from Atanasije Stojković and Stojan Novaković, Laza Lazarević and Vladan Đorđević, Mihajlo Petrović Alas, Mihajlo Pupin and Milutin Milanković, to Radovan Samardžić and Goran Milašinović. What a perfect array of great people, exceptional scientists and wonderful writers.

I look on with regret at the declining levels of knowledge and culture today

Serbian culture is under attack in the surrounding, emerging and ill-fated states, if indeed they are states and not political provisional arrangements. The Serbian language and Cyrillic script are savagely suppressed, with apartheid rule in parts of the former Yugoslavia, where Serbs are ‘Black’. This relates in particular to the authorities in Montenegro. We live in an age of kleptocracy and political savagery, but we need to be fully aware: not just in the surrounding countries. Despite this, Serbian literature still somehow resists the impact of ideology and brutality and survives despite its small and divided market, and this is a kind of a miracle. But apart from the top works, one has to take care of the whole system of education, which is not in a good state, care must be taken of the cultural habits of the citizens, who are exposed to media vulgarity and ideological primitivism, which are represented by ‘reality shows’. That kind of ‘reality’ is all around. Public communication and conducting brutal politics is often reduced to the level of threats, cursing and abhorrence.

However, excellent poetry is written, sometimes also prose, and dozens of young colleagues study literature and write criticism, translations of great slow-sellers still emerge. We would have something to show the world: symbolic capital, great works of art and cultural resilience. Serbian frescoes in famous monasteries don’t lack anything on Giotto, and the most liberal constitution of the 19th century was written in Serbia, which at the time had liberated itself from the Turks and erected, as famous German historian Leopold von Ranke put it, a torch of freedom across the whole of southern Europe. We suffered terribly in the two world wars, fighting with the allies against fascism, while, like the Jews, they also killed us in concentration camps, one of the largest in the world being Jasenovac, built in the then Independent State of Croatia just for the Serbs. In such a century, we also gave Europe two of the world’s greatest writers: Andrić and Crnjanski.

We are specific in that there were so many writers in the Serbian ruling families, which was not the case anywhere in the world: from Saint Sava, who was the founder of Serbian culture and the first Serbian archbishop, and his brother, the first crowned Serbian ruler, Stefan the First-Crowned, to Njegoš and Prince Nikola, who both ruled Montenegro; from Mihajlo Obrenović to Đorđe Karađorđević, coming from the two ruling families which were exchanging places at the throne by the mid-20th century. We are better than they think of us in Europe and America when they think of us at all, and we are much harder on ourselves than should be the case for any nation with such a history and tradition.

Related Articles

Culture Is Not a Luxury

On April 23rd, over 130 Ministers and Vice-Ministers of Culture joined the online meeting convened by UNESCO to discuss actions to bolster the cultural...

Fashion

Hiking Safely In The Age of Covid-19

With so much that is cancelled or closed due to the pandemic, more people are planning to go to nature for solace, recreation, and...

35 Ideas While You Stay at Home

While travel has stopped during the coronavirus crisis, this comes as the perfect time to enjoy some armchair adventures. Much content has become available...

More...

Gordan Matić, Director of the Film Centre of Serbia

We Listen to Filmmakers and Filmgoers

I was born and raised in Kragujevac. During my childhood we had three cinemas in the city. I think the first film I watched,...

Ten Most Expensive Paintings Ever

Can you think of a world in which there would be discounts on works of art? It’s so unreal that I find it hard...

Artistic director, curator and selector BITEF

Ivan Medenica: On The Edge Of The Future

“We considered it necessary to give our all to nonetheless create a sample of the festival this year, to come up with a three-day...

Jean Tinguely, 1925 – 1991

The Master of Kinetic Art and Nouveau Réalisme

One of the most important artist in the development of Kinetic art as well as Nouveau réalisme, Jean Tinguely was a Swiss sculptor widely...

News

Richard Grenell: Serbia-Kosovo Agreement Results From Trump’s Different Brand Of Diplomacy

President Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia and Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti of Kosovo took an enormous step toward a long-term...

Agreement On Normalisation Of Economic Relations Between Belgrade And Pristina Signed

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti signed an Agreement...

Symbols Of Belgrade Lit In Colors Of The Polish Flag

On the occasion of marking the 40th anniversary of the founding of the "Solidarity" movement, Branko's Bridge, the Bridge...

Montenegro Election: First Projections Point To A Tight Race

In Montenegro, the ruling DPS was nearly neck-and-neck with its main rivals, according to early and incomplete projections of...

Gorenje To Hire 600 Temp Workers Due To Surge In Orders

Slovenian home appliance manufacturer Gorenje is hiring some 600 temporary workers to cope with a record number of orders....

Agreement On Normalisation Of Economic Relations Between Belgrade And Pristina Signed

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti signed an Agreement...

Montenegro Election: First Projections Point To A Tight Race

In Montenegro, the ruling DPS was nearly neck-and-neck with its main rivals, according to early and incomplete projections of...

EU Awards One Million EUR In Grants For COVID Recovery In Tourism Sector

“#EUzaTebe – For Cultural Heritage and Tourism” project has awarded one million euros for 120 projects aimed at supporting...

UNDP And Embassy Of Slovakia Present Feasibility Study On Use Of Thermosolar Energy

The Mayor of Belgrade, Zoran Radojičić, met with the Ambassador of Slovakia to Serbia, H.E. Fedor Rosocha and Resident...

The EU Does Not Recognize Belarus Election Results

Members of the European Council held a video conference, at which they discussed the situation after the presidential elections...

Agreement On Normalisation Of Economic Relations Between Belgrade And Pristina Signed

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti signed an Agreement...

Montenegro Election: First Projections Point To A Tight Race

In Montenegro, the ruling DPS was nearly neck-and-neck with its main rivals, according to early and incomplete projections of...

EU Awards One Million EUR In Grants For COVID Recovery In Tourism Sector

“#EUzaTebe – For Cultural Heritage and Tourism” project has awarded one million euros for 120 projects aimed at supporting...

UNDP And Embassy Of Slovakia Present Feasibility Study On Use Of Thermosolar Energy

The Mayor of Belgrade, Zoran Radojičić, met with the Ambassador of Slovakia to Serbia, H.E. Fedor Rosocha and Resident...

The EU Does Not Recognize Belarus Election Results

Members of the European Council held a video conference, at which they discussed the situation after the presidential elections...