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Antun Lučić: Dodiri, smjene

Contemporaneity has been increasingly forcing us to reflect on things that we should not, in actual fact, be even thinking about: are we mere consumers and, at the same time, consumer goods themselves, or are we beings with a past, a present und a future? In his book Dodiri, smjene (Touches, Shifts) Antun Lučić chooses the latter. He is aware of the fact that the orientations of a given period pass, and that that which remains is the good and the great accomplished by someone. Leaning on this thought he wrote twelve discussions and presented the same in the shape of a book. He arranged them in two sections — »Smjenjivo« and »Ruho« (»The Dispensable« and »Attire«). If we take a closer look at them, we notice that the first section deals with universal topics, while the second with national ones. It looks as though he wants to say that we should be open to everything around us, but that, at the same time, we should be open to ourselves too.

The range of Lučić’s interests is rather wide. His discussions tackle various forms of poetry, performances, plays and various genres of fiction. It is apparent that he is a scientist of great and in-depth knowledge, and that his insights are not dry and dull, but rather seek the philanthropic contours around us so as to — with their help — penetrate veiled fields. It is there that he finds the answers to his questions and, emboldened, continues his search. I daresay this is the attitude of a true scientist. Guided by the good he arrives at credible conclusions in his work. This is the thread that helped Lučić present his talk of diverse topics as a single piece of work. Although in one's scientific and professional pursuits inscriptions should not be cited, I do not think that citing it here will be a mistake: »To my family, to which I belong«. This is seemingly natural and clear, but the world we live in favours the individual over the family. Accordingly, one is to attempt to function in all the aspects and roles of one's life. Lučić chooses to belong to the wider world rather than his own inner world in order to learn and discover more about himself within it. And this world of his talks in a multitude of voices.

Dealing with different periods of both Croatian and foreign literature Lučić researches their aesthetic, stylistic and useful examples. He commences with Šop and his renditions of the Roman lyricists. But instead of only examining and discussing his translations, he also talks of Šop himself. That way he actively connects diverse periods pointing to a thought that travels and does not sink into the distant past. His approach is rather similar in his other discussions too, in which he touches on Marko Marulić, William Shakespeare, Miroslav Krleža, August Strindberg, Ivo Andrić, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the Zrinskis and the Frankopans, friar Flip Lastrić, friar Andrija Kačić Miošić, etc. In particular, let us refer to his discussion »on the Kočerin Tablet. Lučić talks of the time of its emergence and the people who birthed it in a warm yet scientific manner. He calls Viganj »our Hamlet; Virgil, in fact« (p. 143). Later he compares him with our more recent past: »In some ways, Viganj is the contemporary Joseph K. from Kafka's The Trial – both are passing through stages of survival within a social environment« (p. 145). It would be wrong to claim that this is an exaggerated preoccupation with one's motherland; instead, I daresay that this is a gaining an insight of one's fate on an example from the region. There too lives were lived regardless of all the darkness sent there for many and various reasons. Yet this darkness did not isolate the people from the surrounding world; quite the contrary, it pointed out its very essence to them. There are no great or insignificant literatures and histories; in this region there are only great and insignificant works and achievements.

In addition to the linguistic and cultural, phenomena Lučić reflects upon, he pays particular attention to the origins of the Croatian heritage. He, thus, extensively discusses Marko Marulić in no less than three discussions. Lučić's consuming passion for the period in question can easily be sensed. Absorbing and analysing it he tries to talk of the present. That way his style approaches and understands man's spirit far better revealing answers at places he never expected to find any. The heritage of the Croatian people has always been incredibly rich in spite of all the evil and wickedness that throughout history threatened to utterly destroy it. In his time, Marko Marulić was not only well known to his town and people, but also left a profound impact on the European literary and cultural heritage. We are also to be greatly indebted to the friars Filip Lastrić and Andrija Kačić Miošić and others like them for having spread Europe's heritage in its Eastern regions too and not only in its West, which the two defended after all.

The book also contains a bibliographical appendix and a summary in English. The author obviously — at least as far as contours are concerned — wishes to reach as far as possible. That will help others seek the way he sought.

Lučić's book introduces us to the heritage of a people that wish to be like all the other European peoples. Their culture is western and they have always been that which we today refer to as »Europe«. When presenting his thoughts Lučić is measured, he does not intend to be offensive; his aim is to shed light on his people from different perspectives. He will be read with great interest by both those who are already familiar with the fields he discusses and those to whom these fields are still rather foggy. And that is what is referred to as quality in a writer and scientist.

Miljenko Stojić

• Published by: HKD Napredak, Split 2005, 293 pages, ISBN 9534651-00-9

Most (The Bridge), 1-2, Društvo hrvatskih književnika / The Croatian writers’ association, Zagreb, June 2006, pages 21 – 22

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