Text topic: An Ethical Reading of Art
- Serbian fiction
Text author: Владислава Гордић Петковић
The paper focuses on the achievements of Antonije Isaković, who is often seen as the Serbian successor of such renowned storytellers as Maupassant, Chekhov and Hemingway, owing to his terse, hardboiled style which imposes strict rules of reticence and emphasizes reliance on indeterminacy. The prose style of plain but powerful words and simple but artfully structured syntax tackles many delicate moral and ethical issues. The language which is carefully stripped of any misleading ornaments, replete with symbolism and functioning referentially to describe an event or object with symbolic implications fits into Karl Jaspers’ concept of a limit situation (Grenzsituation) – a situation in which events and moments test the characters’ moral strength and ethical priorities. Choosing to achieve small-scale, concentrated effects rather than construct majestic sentences, Isaković depicts a hero who is frail, alienated and confused, whose undaunted masculinity is larger than life, but also a hero who is prone to errors and falls into a world impossible to handle and control. The prevailing mood of danger and disenchantment seems to go along perfectly with the artistic form of a short story that requires a focus on the turning point in the character’s life and chooses to dwell on a particular moment of crisis, climax or change.