Constructions of Montenegro in the Works of British Writers from the Nineteenth Century to the Present
In the light of imperial and balkanist discourse theories, my project will trace the way British literary responses to Montenegro have developed over the past two centuries. I intend to show how these responses have arisen in a perspective that places Montenegro against a changing backdrop of ‘otherness’ - Napoleonic France, Islam, Ottoman power, Russian Imperial intentions, German power, Soviet expansionism. My analysis will demonstrate how British literary responses to Montenegro reveal a pattern in British perceptions of the Balkans generally, one that has much to do with the context within which the looking takes place as it has with the characteristics of its immediate object. For British observers – travellers, diplomats, soldiers, journalists, novelists – the foreground has often been determined by its changing background.
Starting from the earliest accounts of the nineteenth century, I have included the full range of British writings about Montenegro, many of which have not been analysed previously. At the same time, my thesis will appraise the relevance of postcolonial literary theory to writings about Montenegro and test the fertility of categories taken from this theory in a setting that has features of colonialism whilst being apparently marginally related to British Imperial enterprise. I will attend to the effects both complimentary and derogatory discourses about Montenegro have, the political relations in which they take shape, how they operate and to whose advantage.
- What are the main patterns of British representations of Montenegro from the 19th century to the present?
- What are the cultural and geopolitical contexts which contribute to the fluctuations in representations of Montenegro?
- How does the discourse on Montenegro compare and contrast with the British discourse on the Balkans?
- How do the distinguishing characteristics of discourse on Montenegro relate to the postcolonial analysis of the writings on the Balkans and postcolonial critical theory?
- To analyse the response of one culture, the British one, to another, the Montenegrin one, by looking at all major British texts from 1800 onwards
- To explore this cross-cultural response through the prism of critical theories dealing with constructions of identity and alterity
- To analyse variations of otherness in texts on Montenegro and show how romantic representational style became a dominant matrix in discourse on Montenegro
- To investigate how this romantic representation fits in or deviates from the postcolonial critique of Western negative discourse on the Balkans
- To show to which extent the image of Montenegro differs from the image of the Balkans in general and of individual Balkan countries in particular
- To identify the relevance of postcolonial theory to the non-colonial situation of Montenegro
- To contribute to the study of Europe and European identities
- To unify numerous articles on Montenegro dispersed in various newspapers and magazines and compile a thorough bibliography of those writings
“British Representations of Montenegro during the Nineteenth Century”, Critical Studies Research Group Seminar Series, University of Brighton, 22 Jan 2014.
“British Responses to the Montenegrin Struggle for Independence from the Ottoman Empire until 1878”, Revolutions in the Balkans: Revolts and Uprisings in the Era of Nationalism (1804-1908) conference, Panteion University, Athens, 31 Oct – 2 Nov 2013.
“British Perceptions of Nineteenth-Century Nationalism in Montenegro: From Denigration to Glorification”, Empires and Nations from the 18th to the 20th Century conference, La Sapienza University, Rome, 20-22 June 2013.
“Discursive Constructions of Montenegro in Early British Travel Writing until 1878”, Post-Yugoslav Spaces through the Postcolonial Prism conference, University of Manchester, 1-2 June 2013.
“Splits and changes in discourse on Montenegro in nineteenth-century British writing: From denigration to glorification”, Balkan Connections, University of Sussex Conference, Global Studies Resource Centre, 2 June 2011
“Montenegro in the works of De Sommieres, Delarue and Lenormant: A postcolonial, theoretical perspective”, Beyond French Studies, University of London
Postgraduate French Conference, Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, 14-15 September 2007
“Montenegro in British travel writing: Fraser, Durham, Carey”, In Transit: Literature on the Move, University of Hull Department of English Conference, 12 May 2007
“Representations of Montenegro in the works of De Sommieres, Delarue and Lenormant, from a postcolonial literary perspective”, Critical Voices: 2001 Group, Study Day, University of Southampton, 3 May 2007
“Representations of Montenegro in the works of Fraser, Gladstone, Tennyson, Durham and De Windt, from a postcolonial theoretical perspective”, British Association of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies Annual Conference, Cambridge University, 31 March- 2 April 2007
“Montenegro in the works of British writers 1839-1914: Fraser, Gladstone, Tennyson, Durham and De Windt”, Helen Bamber Centre of Human Rights Seminar Series, Kingston University, 15 February 2007
“Romantic representations of Montenegro in the works of Gladstone and Tennyson”, Research Without Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Research in Arts and Humanities, University of Roehampton School of Arts Postgraduate Conference, 27 January 2007
“British constructions of Montenegro 1839-1914”, Contexts, Fields, Positions: Situating Cultural Research, University of East London Postgraduate Conference, 25-26 May 2006
“Representations of Montenegro 1839-1914, through the prism of balkanist theories”, Research Presentation Day, British Federation of Women Graduates, 13 May 2006
Ana Živković, “Early British Discursive Constructions of Montenegro (1840-1880)”, in Antonello Biagini and Giovanna Motta, eds, Empires and Nations from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century, Volume 2 (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014), pp. 185-192.