Prose Fiction of Danilo KiŠ, Serbian Jewish Writer

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Yugoslav author Danilo Kiš is one of the best-known fiction writers of central and southeastern Europe. This study examines Kiš’s prose as a textual exploration of different modes of self-constitution, executed in order to construct a personal history and a self-portrait. It examines Kiš’s ‘family cycle’ (the novels Early Sorrows; Garden, Ashes; and Hourglass) as a performative act in which a textual inscription of the self mimics the gradual unfolding and constitution of the subject through the three different orders described in Lacan’s writings as Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real. Another chapter analyzes the documentary film Bare Existence (directed by Aleksandar Mandic) for which Kiš co-wrote the script and in which he appears as the interviewer of two women.


“… comprehensive, engaging, and insightful. A reader familiar with Kiš’s works will find Vuletic’s skilled textual analysis interesting and insightful. For those readers who have not read Kiš, this book can serve as an excellent introduction to his works. Kiš is well-served by Vuletic, who presents this East European writer in a way that Western audiences should find engaging. She shows how Kiš is a sophisticated modernist who writes about the Jewish experience during the Nazi period of power in Europe…. As Vuletic demonstrates, Kiš’s fiction works on many levels. Not only are the plots gripping, the fiction is richly allusive – a feature that gives it depth and sophistication….a thorough and rewarding piece of work that will be enjoyed by scholars of twentieth century literature.” – Anna Brodsky, Washington and Lee University

“Vuletic has produced a highly articulated interpretive reading of Kiš’ trilogy in conjunction with the documentary film…. fill[s] in the gap concerning Kiš scholarship.” – Peter Steiner, University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface; Introduction
Kiš on Kiš: A Conception of the Novel
The Question of Genre
Garden, Ashes: Narrative Voices
Garden, Ashes: Father and Son
Early Sorrows
Bibliography; Index

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