Legenda Conference: Adapting the Canon (10 October 2014)

Ismail Kadare
The Writer and the Dictatorship 1957-1990

Peter Morgan

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Ismail Kadare
(1936-)
Romanian novelist

National and cultural identity
 33 other titles

Legenda: Oxford, 2010
£48.00 ($89.50 US)  Hardback  356pp
ISBN: 978-1-906540-51-7


Ismail Kadare has experienced a life of controversy. In his own country and internationally he has been both acclaimed as a writer and condemned as a lackey of the Albanian socialist dictatorship. Coming of age after occupation and war, Kadare (b. 1936) belonged to the first generation of new Albanians. In a land where writers were routinely persecuted, Kadare produced some of the the most brilliant, terrifying and subversive novels to emerge from socialist Eastern Europe. The inaugural award of the International Man-Booker Prize for Literature in 2005 marked an important milestone in the global recognition of Kadare. Ironic, multi-layered and imaginative, Kadare’s writing is profoundly opposed to ideology. Through critical analysis of a representative selection of Kadare’s works, Peter Morgan explains for a wide audience how Kadare survived and wrote in the repressive Albanian Stalinist environment.

Peter Morgan is Professor of European Studies at the University of Western Australia. In 2010 he will take up the Foundation Chair in European Studies at the University of Sydney.

Click here to read an interview with Peter Morgan by Gazeta Shqiptare (in Albanian).

Reviews:

  • ‘Morgan shows convincingly why Kadare experienced this change of direction [from attempting to influence Hoxha to a more subversive approach], explaining the zigs and zags of Albanian politics which shaped the environment in which the writer worked, and in particular Hoxha’s ambiguous role as protector and persecutor... Thorough, erudite, and readable, with interesting photographs. Both Kadare and the Albanian Communist regime remain mysterious in many ways, but Morgan’s book sheds considerable light on both, and will be an invaluable companion to the novels.’ — Anne White, Modern Language Review 106.4, 2011, 1203-05


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