Getting Over Europe

The Construction of Europe in Serbian Culture


The book examines the discursive construction of the representation of “Europe” in the selected writings of leading Serbian writers and intellectuals in the first half of the twentieth century. In addition to being of particular significance in the process of the genesis of our understanding of Europe across the continent, these several decades were crucial for the discursive construction of “Europe” in Serbian culture: when after the end of the Cold War the debate on Europe became possible again, it was on a discursive level to a large extent determined by the stockpile of images and ideas created between the world wars. The book seeks to answer the following questions: who constructed “Europe”, and with what authority? For whom were these constructions intended? How was this representation validated? What purposes was it meant to serve? Which issues were raised in comparing “Europe” with Serbia, and why? Which textual traditions were the elements of this construction borrowed from? How did the construction of the European other define Serbian self-representation? This volume is of interest for all those working in Slavic or East European studies - especially cultural, intellectual and political history of the Balkans - imagology, and European studies.
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Review Quote

“In short, Serbian conceptions of Europe were as numerous, diverse and contested as the reciprocal perceptions of the Balkans by the Western Europeans of the time. Getting over Europe has succeeded in bringing them together in a productive dialogue. In addition to this, Milutinovic´ ’s captivating style and erudition will appeal to historians as well as to those from literary and cultural studies and social sciences. Finally, the book itself retains a sort of elusiveness, as it functions as an imagological study and a dialectical enquiry, while, at yet another level, it is a study of misunderstandings between Western Europe and Serbia stemming from false dichotomies and prejudices. In the latter capacity, it ultimately offers the hope and possibility of understanding arising from a subtle and non-reductive reading of the conceptions and visions that they can offer to each other.”
- Aleksandar Pavlović, University of Belgrade, Serbia in European History Quarterly, Vol. 46

”Milutinović is one of the rare specialists in Balkan cultural studies who could have written such a subtle and insightful study of this topic. […] Milutinović expertly and discreetly brings this background to his text, giving his central arguments a depth and resonance often missing from works dealing with cultural issues relating to the Balkans.” - David A. Norris, University of Nottingham, in: SLAVONICA, Vol. 19 No. 1, April 2013, pp. 86-7
“The author’s careful and nuanced analysis of the interplay between each consecutive image of ‘Europe’ and the respective quest to situate a Serbian self vis-á-vis that image is one of the most compelling features of this study.” - Angelina Ilieva, University of Chicago, in: Slavic and East European Journal 56.2, Summer 2012, pp. 301-2

“What his argument does show is that in Serbian culture, the interwar years represent the formative period of a complex, open-ended process in which discourses of Europeanism were simultaneously absorbed, as a part of modernization, and transformed, as a part of the quest for self-determination. With Milutinović’s book, the reader gets a valuable map of the many ideological entrenchments in the Serbian writers’ struggle to come to terms with Europe and also an up-to- date critical apparatus for their appreciation. For this reason, the scholarly significance of this volume transcends the temporal limits of the scrutinized period and area. It calls for comparative investigations of similar modernizing processes in South-East Europe and will also appeal to those exploring the discourses of reconciliation and integration in present-day Serbia.”
- Vladimir Zorić, University of Nottingham, in Slavonic and East European Review, vol. 90.1 2012, pp. 135-137

“In conclusion, Getting Over Europe is a captivating and insightful work of potential interest to a truly rich variety of audiences. Its methodical narrative and richness of historical and literary detail reflect the work of an author whose erudition and breadth of academic foundation are reminiscent of Renaissance scholars deeply immersed in liberal arts and philosophical underpinnings of science. The significance and originality of Milutinović’s contribution outweigh the book’s repression of its normative narrative, the author’s dithering over analytical eclecticism, and the somewhat arbitrary sociological focus. Ultimately, Milutinović’s effort to juxtapose and contextualize abundant imaginations and representations of Europe among Serbian public intellectuals stands out in the history of similar attempts due to the author’s creative and unassumingly analytical tone, comprehensiveness, and depth of reflection.”
- Bojan Savić, Elon University, in Nationalities Papers , vol. 42.6 2014, pp. 1088-1090

“Zijn studie biedt een overtuigend alternatief voor dominante opvattingen over de inherente uniciteit van Servië en de Balkan. Milutinović compliceert de conceptie van de Balkan als een Europese schemerzone, als een continentale periferie van vreemdheid. De Servische cultuurgeschiedenis van begin twintigste eeuw wordt daarmee resoluut in een Europese hoofdstroom gesitueerd. De grote kracht van Getting over Europe is dat Milutinović de besproken auteurs altijd in een bredere, continentale (soms zelfs globale) context poogt te plaatsen. Zijn boek is niet enkel een analyse van het Servische ‘ontstijgen van Europa’, het overrompelt tegelijkertijd de stereotypen van het balkanisme.”
- Erik de Lange, University of Utrecht

Table of contents

Cosmopolitan nationalism
In search of a Slav mission: authenticity and barbarity
The Gentlemen
The prophets of Europe’s downfall and rebirth
Oh, to be a European! What did Rastko Petrović learn in Africa?
The great mechanism passes through Višegrad
Misunderstanding is the rule, understanding is a miracle
Epilogue: Barbarians
Dramatis personae in order of appearance


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