Haunted Serbia
Representations of History and War in the Literary Imagination

David A. Norris

Legenda (General Series)


1 September 2016  •  200pp

ISBN: 978-1-909662-65-0 (hardback)  •  RRP £80, $110, €95

ISBN: 978-1-315559-81-0 (Taylor & Francis ebook)


Haunting is what happens when the past is disturbed and the victims of previous violence, who are thought to be buried and forgotten, are brought back to the present and made to live again. Serbian fiction writers of the 1980s exhume the ghosts of the past, re-remembering the cruelty of the twentieth century, reinterpreting the heroic role of the Partisans and the extraordinary measures taken to defend Yugoslavia's recently won independence and socialist revolution. Their uncanny and ghostly imagery challenges the assumptions of the master discourse promoted by the country's orthodox communist authorities and questions the historical roots of social and cultural identities. The instability of this period of transition is deepened during the wars of the 1990s, when authors turn from the memory of past violence to face the ferocious brutality of new conflicts. The haunting evocations in their work continue to articulate fresh uncertainties as the trappings of modern civilization are stripped away and replaced by the destructive logic of civil war. The past returns once more with renewed energy in the struggle to make sense of a vastly changed world.

David A. Norris is Associate Professor in Serbian and Croatian Studies at the University of Nottingham.


  • ‘This is a remarkable study, which accomplishes a lot more than a brief review can mention. One of its greatest merits is the convincing and coherent narrative which strings together a large number of apparently disparate works around an axis which is at one and the same time a literary one — the uncanny and its Gothic repertoire — and extra-literary: searching for meaning in both recent past and in contemporary events. Admirably well researched, Haunted Serbia offers an invaluable insight into a turbulent though fruitful period of Serbia’s literary history, which up until now was uncharted territory.’ — Zoran Milutinović, Slavonic and East European Review 95.2, April 2017, 353-54 (full text online)
  • ‘David A. Norris, direttore del Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies dell’Università di Nottingham, disegna un panorama della narrativa a tema bellico nella letteratura serba della seconda metà del XX secolo guardando ad essa dall’angolatura delle “ways in which narrative fiction represents the changing relationship between past and present in times of crisis” (p. 35)... L’interessante sintesi di D. A. Norris, proprio per la complessità del materiale da essa messo in circolazione, induce a più di qualche riflessione.’ — Janja Jerkov, Ricerche Slavistiche N.S. 14, 2016, 560-72
  • ‘In this well-informed, logically structured study, David A. Norris o ers a lucid and original interpretation of important and in uential Serbian narrative ction between the demise of Tito in 1980 and the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999.’ — Ralph Bogert, Slavic Review Summer 2018, 510-12

Bibliography entry:

Norris, David A., Haunted Serbia: Representations of History and War in the Literary Imagination (Legenda, 2016)

First footnote reference: 35 David A. Norris, Haunted Serbia: Representations of History and War in the Literary Imagination (Legenda, 2016), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Norris, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Norris, David A.. 2016. Haunted Serbia: Representations of History and War in the Literary Imagination (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Norris 2016: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Norris 2016: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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