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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 50 | volume IX | September-October, 2006



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 50September-October, 2006

From Messiah to Debt Collector

On Pop's Drunk Again, an excerpt from the accompanying essay –

p. 1
Mitja Čander

    The character of a misunderstood genius, subjected to humiliation and doomed to a life in isolation, has obsessed generation after generation of Slovenian writers. This vision of an author's situation appears to be what they perceive as the prevailing reality of their social position and intimate determination. It is a landscape they wish to explore, to test its boundaries and perhaps finds authentic mooring points. Hence the quixotic social engagement, the erotic debauchery, the compelling need to verbally estheticize whatever happens, the bouts of heavy drinking and all the other things done by writers-as-Slovenian-literary-heroes, from behind whose backs their real-life creators peek. But no matter how far the framework of myth is transgressed, individualism deepened, excess exacerbated, their stories still remain gloomy, shot through with rays of the setting sun as it were, while their protagonists fail sadly even when emerging as moral winners -and this is far from unimportant. The archetypal image of a writer proficient in the use of national mythology multiplies into often unusual variations, united by the tragedy of mental excess; these are elements which blend in well with the expectations of the nation. At this point, excess becomes the author's sacrifice for the good of the community, his or her existential and creative deviation becomes a sacrificial rite. The glow of an end in torment, an ecstatic fixation on nothingness at the end of the horizon radiates from the writer-as-protagonist in Slovenian literature. The thought of the end, of a lonely death, has a special patina echoing the significance attributed to literature in the Slovenian tradition, where it is seen as the flower of language, more prestigious than even the dreamed-of state.
    But the dream of a Slovenian state has already come true, so, presumably, the nation no longer needs sacrificial victims to weave the fabric of community founded merely on language, that is to say, on the symbolic level. The state has deprived the image of a writer of some of its historical magnitude, and at the same time, has ceased to compel the author to assume this long-familiar role. But if the national patina is peeled off the character of the author (frequent in pre-secession literature), there still remains the inner skeleton, an intense being, always persecuted, yet valiantly struggling for survival. The intensity is usually attributed to the adversity, sometimes downright impossibility, of the circumstances under which the Slovenian tradition historically developed. Yet

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