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Available for the first time in English—an essay with important insights on the sources of totalitarianism, intolerance, and racism

Table of contents

Contents
 
Acknowledgments
Introduction by Branislav Jakovljević:             The Drone of Dialectics: On Parochialism and Deprovincialization The Philosophy of Parochialism by Radomir Konstantinović
In Lieu of an Introduction: Style, the Highest Principle of Parochialism
The Ideal of Pure Poverty
The Spirit of Parochialism as the Spirit of a Tribe in Agony
Province, the Theater of Normativity
Absence of Tragedy: Sentimentalism and Sarcasm
Pamphletism against Tragedy
Happiness from Unhappiness as the Primordial Cause of Determinism
Atheism as the Principle of Publicness
Death and the Philosophy of Parochialism
Individualism as the Function of the Parochial Spirit
Lasting Infantilism of the Parochial Spirit
            1. Ingenious Madness
            2. The End of the World
            3. Infantile-Romantic Mythology of Glorious Destruction
            4. Psychology, Theater of the “Youth”
Realism as Tribal Sacrifice to Deified Reality
Banality – The First Principle of Nothingness
Sensationalism – The Second Principle of Nothingness
Nihilism of The Dark Country
Nihilism of the Parochial Philosophy and Language
            1. Nihilism of the “Total” World
            2. Nihilism of the Status Quo
            3. Realistic Nihilism
            4. Aristocratic Nihilism
            5. Erotic Nihilism
Disappointment in the Animal
Autumnal Nocturno and the “Worldly Malice” of the Parochial Spirit
Existence as Meaningless Work
Laziness as the Work of the Closed Parochial World
Naïveté of the Parochial Spirit’s Non-Naïveté
Traditionalism as bad Conscience of a Non-Myth-Building Consciousness
Political County Fair Staged by Boredom
In Lieu of a Conclusion: No End to an End

Notes
I. The Ideal of Organic Culture
II. Cyril the Philosopher
III. Les charmes de l’horreur and the Parochial Spirit
IV. From God towards Kin
V. Entropy of Earth as the Entropy of the Final Response
VI. Existence as “Starry Acting”
VII. Experience of Poet Nastasijević
VIII. Sincerity in the Service of Hatred Towards the Genius
IX. Biological Irrationalism – The Future of the Cult of Form
X. “Dead Sweetheart” of the Parochial Spirit and Pornography
XI. Poet Vladislav Petković “Dis”
XII. Spirit-Nation against the Spirit
XIII. Serbian Nazism
       Evil as Rejection of the Evil of Contradiction
       The Poetics of Serbian Nazism
       Serbian Nazism and Language
            1. Totalitarianism and Language Reform
            2. Attitude of Serbian Nazism towards Language
______________________________________________________
Editor's Notes
Works Cited
 

Description

The Philosophy of Parochialism is Radomir Konstantinović’s (1928–2011) most celebrated and reviled book. First published in Belgrade as Filosofija palanke in 1969, it attracted keen attention and controversy through its unsparing critique of Serbian and any other nationalism in Yugoslavia and beyond. The book was prophetic, seeming to anticipate not only the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, but also the totalitarian turn in politics across the globe in the first decades of the new century. With this translation, English-speaking audiences can at last discover one of the most original writers of eastern European late modernism, and gain an important and original perspective into contemporary politics and culture in the West and beyond. This is a book that seems to age in reverse, as its meanings become deeper and more universal with the passage of time.

Konstantinović’sbookresists easy classification, mixing classical, Montaigne-like essay, prose poetry, novel, and literary history. The word “philosophy” in the book’s title refers to the solitary activity of reflection and critical thinking, and is also paradoxical: according to the author, a defining characteristic of parochialism is precisely its intolerance toward this kind of self-reflexivity. In Konstantinović’s analysis, parochialism is not a simply a characteristic of a geographical region or a cultural, political, and historical formation—these are all just manifestations of the parochial spirit as the spirit of insularity. His book illuminates the current moment, in which insularity undergirds not only ethnic and national divisions, but also dictates the very structure of everyday life, and where individuals can easily find themselves locked in an echo chamber of social media. The Philosophy of Parochialism can help us understand better not only the dead ends of ethnic nationalism and other atavistic ideologies, but also of those cultural forces such as digital technologies that have been built on the promise of overcoming those ideologies.

Radomir Konstantinović (1928–2011) was a Serbian poet and novelist.

“It is hard to exaggerate the importance of this book in the intellectual life of Serbia and Yugoslavia, and even to the intellectual history of the Balkans and modern Europe in general. The translation by Nikolić and Jakovljević is excellent.”
–John K. Cox, North Dakota State University
 

“A virtually unique example of indigenous Balkan discourse independent of European philosophy. . . .  developed as a study of the spirit of the palanka or market-town mentality, Konstantinović’s book discerns at the margin of Enlightened Europe an oppositional rationality, the provincial mind versus Hegelian cosmopolitan reason. While the latter is open to the world with relational subjectivity, the reasoning of the provincial mind closes itself into a subjectivity that excludes the world.”
—Dušan I. Bjelić, from the introduction to Balkan as Metaphor: Between Globalization and Fragmentation
 

“It is hard to exaggerate the importance of this book in the intellectual life of Serbia and Yugoslavia, and even to the intellectual history of the Balkans and modern Europe in general. The translation by Nikolić and Jakovljević is excellent.”
–John K. Cox, North Dakota State University
 

- John K. Cox

“A virtually unique example of indigenous Balkan discourse independent of European philosophy. . . .  developed as a study of the spirit of the palanka or market-town mentality, Konstantinović’s book discerns at the margin of Enlightened Europe an oppositional rationality, the provincial mind versus Hegelian cosmopolitan reason. While the latter is open to the world with relational subjectivity, the reasoning of the provincial mind closes itself into a subjectivity that excludes the world.”
—Dušan I. Bjelić, from the introduction to Balkan as Metaphor: Between Globalization and Fragmentation

- Dušan I. Bjelic