Miroslav Krleža was one of the most important 20th-century Croatian authors. The Wikipedia article about him lists several influences on his work, including "key authors like (...) Proust". However, that statement has no source and there is no similar statement (with or without a source) in the French and German Wikipedia articles about Krleža.

On Google Books, I found the following passage from Socialist Realism in Central and Eastern European Literatures under Stalin, edited by Evgeny Dobrenko & Natalia Jonsson-Skradol (Anthem Press, 2018):

The only measure of value which can be applied to a work seeking to express beauty should be that of the artist's talent, and Krleža vividly demonstrated this by the example of Proust:

Proust is a conservative snob and an overbearing bluestocking, and apart from the fact that he is a disguised royalist, he is an ingenious lyricist of psychoanalysis, a writer disproportionately more significant [...] than any left-wing and loud-voiced character of the so-called social fiction of the time.

This quote is evidence that Krleža was familiar with Proust's work, but does it constitute evidence of influence? Is there any more convincing evidence that Krleža's work was influenced by Proust's?


1 Answer 1


Krleza wrote an entire essay discussing Proust, and has been noted as influenced by Proust in more credible sources than Wikipedia.

In the Krležijana website (an online encyclopedia dedicated to Krleža), there is a page about Marcel Proust which says (Google Translated from the original Croatian):

Krleža's attitude towards Proust is defined by consistent ambivalence, simultaneous negation and affirmation. In his essay On Marcel Proust (Književna republika, 1927, vols. IV, nos. 2 and 3-4), K. appreciates Proust's ability to realize the novel as an aesthetic totality, but objects to his ideological blindness to the reality he writes about and his indifference to specific events of time and space. He attributes the search for timeless existence and idealistic autonomy to art to Proust's morbidity and French spiritual coquetry.


His ambivalent position on Proust will not change either in the Preface to Krsto Hegedušić's "Podravina Motives" (Zagreb 1933) or in the diary entries (Dnevnik 1958-69, Sarajevo 1977), although it will be far sharper, but with a peaceful tendency to timely retreat, which is typical of his evaluation of Proust. Krleža's critique of him has never been simple or unambiguous, just as one cannot speak of the purely lexical, or thematic or compositional influence of Proust on Krleža, although the reminiscences of Proust's reading are undeniable. In the power of Krleža's analytical procedure, artistic and musical style, description of the landscape, nostalgic experiences and richness of linguistic expression, Proust's poetic influence could also be distinguished.

The literary magazine Kriticna Masa (Critical Mass) about Croatian authors also says in its page on Krleža:

Krleža's formative influences include Scandinavian drama, French Symbolism and Austrian and German expressionism and modernism, with key authors like Ibsen, Strindberg, Nietzsche, Karl Kraus, Rilke and Proust.

These sources are enough to confirm that Krleža was indeed influenced by Proust, and to give some sources for further reading about Krleža's views on Proust, at least if you understand Croatian. I couldn't find much detail about how exactly Proust's influence appears in Krleža's work, except for the broad-strokes stuff mentioned above: "analytical procedure, artistic and musical style, description of the landscape, nostalgic experiences and richness of linguistic expression".

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