Aleksandar Pavlović and Srđan Atanasovski
From Myth to Territory: Vuk Karadžić, Kosovo Epics and the Role of Nineteenth-Century Intellectuals in Establishing National Narratives*
In this article, we argue that the nineteenth-century Serbian scholars had a pivotal role in establishing Kosovo as the crucial subject of Serbian literature, culture, and politics. By revisiting the formation of the Kosovo epic in the collections of Vuk Karadžić, the founder of modern Serbian culture, we trace his role in making Kosovo the foundational myth of the whole Serbian nation from the nineteenth-century surge in Romantic nationalism onwards. In particular, we scrutinize Karadžić’s editorial procedures as parts of a process of cultural inscription representing a cultural transformation that made the Kosovo epic an instance of the invention of national tradition in Eric Hobsbawm’s terms.
Keywords: Kosovo epic, Serbian oral tradition, Vuk Karadžić