Tomislav Ladan

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Tomislav Ladan

Tomislav Ladan (born 1932, Ivanjica, Serbia) is a Croatian essayist, critic, novelist, and polymath.

Ladan spent the formative years in his native Bosnia and Herzegovina (Travnik, Bugojno), where he graduated at Philosophical Faculty in Sarajevo. Since he couldn't get permanent employment in the then Serbs-dominated Bosnian cultural life, because of his sometimes ostentatious Croatian identity, Ladan worked intermittently as a private tutor, translator and journalist — until the Croatian doyen of belles letters, Miroslav Krleža, found him a job in Lexicographic Institute in Zagreb, Croatia. Ladan is now the director of the same institute and editor-in-chief of an eight-language parallel dictionary.

His multifarious activity found outlet in various fields:

  • as an essayist, Ladan is at his best. A virtuoso with words, Ladan has written a several books of essays that cover as diverse fields as cursing in Croatian language, voluminous polygraphy playing with etymological meanings of the words that define human culture, from God to globalization (Riječi, "Words"), and nuances of medieval spiritual culture (Parva medievalia)
  • Ladan's only novel, Bosanski grb ("Bosnian coat of arms") (1975) is a postmodernist fiction written as a combination of Rabelaisian linguistic feast and a treatise on the historical destiny of Croats in central Bosnia. Consciously ignoring realist, even modernist narrative conventions, Ladan's novel stands as both the most hermetic and the most linguistically buoyant text in modern Croatian literature. Maybe the closest to the truth is the contention that the true "hero" of the novel is Croatian language.
  • as a critic, Ladan has, in more than four decades, surveyed virtually all works written in Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian — not infrequently to the consternation of the "objects" of his criticism. Follower of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Frank Kermode, Ladan didn't pay much attention to the deconstructionists (Foucault, Derrida) he found arid and sterile. His best critical essays also evaluate such writers as William Faulkner or Robert Musil. And, last but not least, Ladan has gained reputation as a master translator from eight languages, including German, English, Swedish, Greek and Latin.hr:Tomislav Ladan

sr:Томислав Ладан

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