Ismail Kadere’s Idea of Europe

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Abstract

The aim of this article is to reconstruct and pinpoint the peculiarities of Ismail Kadare’s idea of Europe. Kadare’s idea of Europe, it is argued, differs from the ideas of Europe embraced or presumed by intellectuals like Paul Valéry, Georg Simmel, Danilo Kiš, Václav Havel, Adam Michnik, or Milan Kundera, or from that of the European Union. For Kadare it is literature rather than the polis or its particular ideology that is the guardian of European values. Thus the European legacy, in his view, is primarily Homeric rather than Socratic. I suggest first that the persecution of writers and the repression of literature in totalitarian regimes underlies Kadare’s idea of Europe. I then further characterize Kadare’s theme of persecution as a dialectic between regime and culture. Finally, I reconstruct Kadare’s narrative of Albania’s “return to Europe” as the struggle for recognizing Albania as the birthplace of European culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-730
JournalEuropean legacy
Volume20
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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