Genealogical Aspects of Oral and Folk Tradition

Principal researcher: Tanja Perić-Polonijo
Researchers and associates: Ruža Bonifačić, Simona Delić, Antonija Zaradija-Kiš, Jelena Marković

The general aim of the project is the protection and preservation of traditional values of Croatian culture that consists of: studying changes and working on and publishing syntheses in the system of genres of oral and folk literature and the historical continuity and the national and European context; making the database and collection of oral literary and specific recorded material (older and more recent); transliteration of old texts; publication of critical editions of unpublished collections belonging to the Croatian oral literary tradition (manuscript collections of the Department of Ethnology at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts – MH, ZbNZO, and Institute’s Documentation manuscripts). The fundamental presumption of the project is that traditional culture is interwoven into contemporary Croatian culture. This presumption is based on contemporary folkloristic, ethnological and cultural-anthropological theories according to which traditional culture is not made of unchanged forms from the past; it is considered as continuously changing and as a source of new meanings in the present.

Complex image of Croatian oral and folk literary tradition and traditions of other nations Croats are culturally and historically related to, with whom they live in a long-lasting civilization relationship and direct contacts, is being systematically completed. This continues the previously started Institute’s activity consisting of publishing monographs about regions/localities in Croatia. This research points to the methodological and regional issues of literary genres of oral and folk literature as a whole, and the monograph “Zapisana usmenost” (Peric-Polonijo) will, on the level of methodology, raise issues of recording verbal, primarily oral, literary forms from the 1st part of the 19th century (this is the time when systematical recording and shaping of oral literary records in Croatia starts) till today, including ethical issues related to the protection of the narrator and the material itself. Special focus will be on preparing a collection of papers on folk literature. This aims at contributing to previous views with new theoretical ideas, especially from the aspect of literary anthropology. The book on the Croatian Alexandride (Zaradija Kis), with comments and transliterated old text (written in Bosačnica), will open new possibilities of a more systematic study of the folk novel and its development within the Croatian literature.

The research aims at drawing attention to the wealth and significance of oral and folk tradition and their role in the preservation of national and regional identity, which emphasize the possibility of a wider application of mentioned research results. Research results will show a strong connection with other related disciplines of the Institute. Presentation of works will provide for adequate application in amateur activities, help for numerous external users, especially when it comes to folklore. The results are directly applicable in amateur activity, lexicography and various forms of popularization of science (radio and TV broadcasts, newspapers, regional and local collections and journals that take interest in traditional culture, and they can also be of help to Matica hrvatska and its branches, as well as to various tourist promotional publications and the project of cultural tourism in Croatia).