In the Realm of Politics, Nonsense, and the Absurd

The Myth of Antigone in West and South Slavic Drama in the Mid-Twentieth Century


  • Alenka Jensterle-Doležal Charles University in Prague



myth of Antigone, West and South Slavic Drama, twentieth century


The myth of Antigone remained relevant in the twentieth century, and new plays inspired by this myth appeared not only in the West but also in Slavonic drama during and after WW2. Oppressed societies, abuses of power, persecution and execution of political and ideological opponents create a fertile ground for a creative return to the Sophoclean tragedy. Some of the new plays have roots in the trauma of WW2, others in post-war Soviet domination. Significantly, these plays attach growing importance to the character of Creon. Among the discussed playwrights are two Serbs, Jovan Hristić and Oto Bihajli-Merin, two Croats, Marijan Matković and Drago Ivanišević, and the Slovene, Dominik Smole; four Poles, Artur Marya Swinarski, Krystyna Berwińska, Nora Szczepańska, and Roman Brandstaetter; one Slovak, Peter Karvaš, and one Czech, Milan Uhde.


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Author Biography

Alenka Jensterle-Doležal, Charles University in Prague

ALENKA JENSTERLE-DOLEŽAL studied Slovene language and culture, comparative literature and philosophy at the Faculty of Arts, University in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and graduated in 1983. In 2000 she received her PhD on the basis of her dissertation on the myth of Antigone in the West and -South Slavic drama. In 1990/1991 she worked at the Columbia University in New York as a Fulbright Scholar. Until 2001 she taught Slovene language and literature at universities in Slovenia, in Nottingham, and in Cracow. In 1992–1996 she worked at the Institute for Slavistics in Prague. In 2002 she was appointed Assistant Professor at the Department of South Slavic and Balkan Studies of the Charles University in Prague. Her areas of research are myth in literature, Slovene modernism and fin-de-siècle literature, Slovene women writers, and Slovene-Czech relations. She published more than sixty scholarly papers and three monographs: Mit o Antigoni v zahodno- in južnoslovanskih dramatikah sredi 20. stoletja (Ljubljana 2004); V krogu mitov: O ženski in smrti v slovenski književnosti (Ljubljana 2008); Avtor, tekst, kontekst, komunikacija: Poglavja iz slovenske moderne (Maribor 2014). She is also the author of seven literary works: five anthologies of poems and two books of prose.