Great Immortality

Studies on European Cultural Sainthood


Volume Editors: and
Winner of the Excellence Award for Collaborative Research granted by the European Society of Comparative Literature (ESCL)

In Great Immortality, twenty scholars from considerably different cultural backgrounds explore the ways in which certain poets, writers, and artists in Europe have become major figures of cultural memory. Through individual case studies, many of the contributors expand and challenge the concepts of cultural sainthood and canonization as developed by Marijan Dović and Jón Karl Helgason in National Poets, Cultural Saints: Canonization and Commemorative Cults of Writers in Europe (Brill, 2017). Even though the major focus of the book is the nineteenth-century cults of national poets, the volume examines a wide variety of cases in a very broad temporal and geographical framework – from Dante and Petrarch to the most recent attempts to sanctify artists by both the Catholic and Orthodox churches, and from the rise of a medieval Icelandic author of sagas to the veneration of a poet and national leader in Georgia.

Contributors are: Bojan Baskar, Marijan Dović, Sveinn Yngvi Egilsson, David Fishelov, Jernej Habjan, Simon Halink, Jón Karl Helgason, Harald Hendrix, Andraž Jež, Marko Juvan, Alenka Koron, Roman Koropeckyj, Joep Leerssen, Christian Noack, Jaume Subirana, Magí Sunyer, Andreas Stynen, Andrei Terian, Bela Tsipuria, and Luka Vidmar.

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Marijan Dović is an associate professor at the ZRC SAZU Institute of the Slovenian Literature and Literary Studies in Ljubljana. He has published extensively in Slovenian and English on cultural nationalism, national poets, the literary canon, systems theory, the avant-garde, and authorship.
Jón Karl Helgason is a professor in the Department of Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Iceland. He has published monographs and articles on cultural history, cultural saints, metafiction and the afterlife of Iceland’s medieval literature.
"The culture-specific particularities and the local twists to the editors’ foundational model keep the individual case studies intriguing. [...]. Great Immortality contributes in meaningful and significant ways to the new surge of nationalism studies. [...] "Brill’s book series National Cultivation of Culture, in which Helgason and Dović’s excellent volume appears, keeps on producing such fine scholarship to investigate these complex matters further". Sándor Hites, in Literary Research, Fall 2020.

"A stimulating and rich collection of essays, Great Immortality introduces and explores the metaphor of “cultural saint” in its bid to understand the complex relationship between authors’ and creative artists’ lives, their reception by their contemporaries and their posterity, and the relationship of these factors to 19th-century romantic nationalism. [...] The volume’s engagement with the nature of cultus presents not only important insights into European cultural history but also into 19th- and early 20th-century memory politics and canon formations." Zsuzsanna Varga, in CompLit Journal of European Literature, Arts and Society, 2022.
Marko Juvan and Sveinn Yngvi Egilsson
 List of Figures
 Notes on Contributors

Marijan Dović and Jón Karl Helgason

Part 1:

1 Sacral States: The Politics of Worship, Religious and Secular
Joep Leerssen
2 Framing the Bones of Dante and Petrarch: Literary Cults and Scientific Discourses
Harald Hendrix

Part 2:

3 Taming a Romantic: The Canonization of Adam Mickiewicz
Roman Koropeckyj
4 The Riddles of the Shevchenko Cult
Christian Noack
5 Hagiographic Discourse in the Early Biographies of France Prešeren
Alenka Koron
6 Stanko Vraz and the Missing Saints of the Illyrian Movement
Andraž Jež

Part 3:

7 Bialik the Prophet and the Modern Hebrew Canon
David Fishelov
8 Jacint Verdaguer, a Catalan Cultural Saint
Magí Sunyer and Jaume Subirana
9 “Altars of the Flemish Movement”: Tombstones and Rituals of Nation-Building
Andreas Stynen

Part 4:

10 Hero or Traitor? The Cultural Canonization of Snorri Sturluson in Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Beyond
Simon Halink
11 Ilia Chavchavadze: Georgia’s Cultural Saint and a Saint of the Georgian Orthodox Church
Bela Tsipuria
12 The Third Canonization of Njegoš, the National Poet of Montenegro
Bojan Baskar

Part 5:

13 Prophet, Martyr, Saint: Mihai Eminescu’s Lateral Canonization
Andrei Terian
14 Antoni Gaudí and Jože Plečnik: Two Architects on the Path from Cultural Canonization to Catholic Beatification
Luka Vidmar
15 From the Culture of Saints to the Saints of Culture: The Saint and the Writer between Life and Work
Jernej Habjan

 Copyright of Figures
 Index of Names
All interested in European (cultural) nationalism and its para-religious extensions, as well as in commemoration, veneration, and canonization of artists (especially poets) in various literary cultures within the last two centuries.
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