Sabri Hamiti: Albanian literary schools
Translated by Muhamet Hamiti
A. THE SCHOOLS
During its five centuries of existence, the Albanian literature has shaped its artistic identity and consolidated its constants and transformations along the way. Through time, its structural characteristics have changed, either in terms of internal literary developments, or in terms of its relations with non-literary contexts.
Literary Schools (Teachings, Doctrines) are structural and semantic manifestations of this literature, which become prevailing features for the writing and literary works of the major authors of the periods, as well as literary consciousness.
These literary schools stand out as identifiable by virtue of certain features and qualities of the literary text:
1. The structure of literary discourses, the thematic codes, the literary forms, the function and the status of the literary text;
2. The major writers and their important works, which exhibit the characteristic features of the school;
3. The authors, who, at the theoretical level, succeed in legitimizing the characteristics of a school; and
4. The rhetorical and poetical figure (figures), which denote a type of writing and may become its emblem.
On the basis of this research work, we recognize the following schools in the body of Albanian literature from its outset to this day:
1. The Philo-Biblical School;
2. The Romantic School;
3. The Critical School;
4. The Modern School;
5. The Socialist Realism School;
6. The Dissident School;
7. The Modern School (Kosova).
Their characteristic features will be introduced below.
1. The Philo-Biblical School
With this literary school, the Albanian literary text is in fact a derivative of the Biblical text, which is universal; hence, the characteristic denomination Philo-Biblical. Moreover, the literary texts are usually incorporated with the Christian doctrinarian books, thus producing a different picture of the given doctrine. The author is designate, but its status mutates from translator to re-creator to creator in its own right.
The discourse is interwoven according to a pattern of rhetoric and the Christian Biblical morality. Likewise, the dominant topics are Biblical (the Old Testament and the New Testament). Both the figures (personas) and the poetical figures follow a Biblical pattern. The literary forms materialize in verse, in the form of applied poetry and occasional poetry, and, in prose fiction with a didactic and moral character.
What is original here is the authorial bit, which in reality is a crack of the system, while the exterior rebellion of the author is an opposition to foreign domination over the Albanian world. On top of this, original are here also some rare derivatives of the Albanian subjects, the topique, first and foremost the figure of the text, which is by all means bound by and born to the Albanian phrase and its ethos. Part of this is also the meter, when it is trochaic Octosyllable, dominant in the body of traditional Albanian verse.
The greatest authors of this school are the following:
PjetĂ«r Budi (1566-1622), who, in his works Doktrina e kĂ«rshtenĂ« (1618) [The Christian Doctrine] e Pasqyra e tĂ« rrĂ«fyemit (1621) [The Mirror of Confession] composed over three thousand Octosyllabic verses, grouped in quatrains, with Biblical subjects and figures, but also with Albanian matters and using a self-taught Albanian. The Octosyllable and the quatrain become a norm of writing in Budiâ€™s poetry, excepting once when this Octosyllable appears redoubled.
PjetĂ«r Bogdani (1630-1689), in his Cuneus Prophetarum (Ă‡eta e profetĂ«ve) interposes KangĂ«t e Sibilave [The Songs of Sibyls], which presage the coming of Christ (i.e., poetry is at the service of the Christian doctrine), thus producing a cultivated literary verse, the eleven syllable verse, and the form of stanza with a regular rhyme scheme. Bogdani Albanianizes the sibyls through the naming process, whereas the poetical figures through the Albanian topique and the Albanian idiomatic figure. In his work we also come across a pure cosmogonic poem, Krijimi i Rruzullimit [The Creation of the Universe], which has anthological values.
Jul Variboba (1724-1788) composes the first pure literary work: Gjella e ShĂ«n MĂ«risĂ« VirgjĂ«r (1762) [The Life of Saint Virgin Mary]. The work is a poetry collection. While the core of the work consists of two long poems on Saint Mary and Saint Bambin (the Christ), there are poems therein on customs and feasts characteristic of the ArbĂ«resh (Italo-Albanian) customary life. Varibobaâ€™s authorial rebellion (originality) goes as far as treating Mary as an ArbĂ«resh woman (mother), whereas his verse is composed in variations, from an ArbĂ«resh free verse to a cultivated and measured verse; moreover with an internal rhyme.
The theoretical codifier of the Philo-Biblical School is PjetĂ«r Bogdani. In his philosophical and theological treatise Cuneus Prophetarum, he elevates rhetoric, and even a poetics, which relies on ancient classical authors, but permeated by the famous Christian exegesis. With this author we encounter, for the first time, the theory of figure, the figurative speech and the Biblical discourse in Albanian language.
The representative figure of, and the interpretative vehicle for this school is Allegory.
2. The Romantic School
The Albanian Romantic literature has been forever inextricably bound with the National Revival as a cultural movement for nation building. Therefore, its literary discourse is woven on two levels: the personal and the collective. Furthermore, the discourse owes a lot to the intention and the function of the text.
For the Romantic writers religion is a sort of a personal spirit, but not the Biblical forms as a stylistic model or a thematic foundation. In the Romantic School, the national collective themes emerge through a sojourn into history, thus discovering the national hero â€“ Scanderbeg. In addition, alongside this, individual, personal themes are developed, approaching the level of enthusiasm for the unearthing of subjectivity. In both the major thematic ramifications, the code of oral literature is consolidated at the level of figures, themes and discourses.
The dominant literary forms are very personal lyrical poetry, the long poem with pretensions to a synthesis and the long poem with a narrative vigour and heroic argument, aspiring to develop into a full-fledged national epic.
In this literary school, the text assumes a character of glorification, both in terms of personal outbursts and the grand national projections.
The major representatives of the Romantic School are the following authors:
Jeronim De Rada (1814-1903), a contemporary of the great European Romanticists, renowned for his works of various genres, amongst which the brilliant long lyrical poem Milosao (1836) and the long poem with epic proportions SkĂ«nderbeu i pafan (1872-1884) [The Ill-fated Scanderbeg]. He marvelled at and learned from the ArbĂ«resh (Italo-Albanian) songs, and forged a new style, with beautiful and astonishing figures in his free-verse Milosao, while a more heavily bound discourse permeates SkĂ«nderbeu i pafan, resulting in fascinating images of nature and the human life. De Rada introduced the theme of the national hero into the Albanian literature, which was to stay everlastingly there, as well as the glorification model of literature, which found followers amongst authors to come.
Zef Serembe (1843-1901) is the first great Albanian lyrical poet, who shuns the dominant model of Albanian Romanticism and creates instead brilliant lyrical poems where bitterness prevails. His formally perfect lyricism, many a time in the sonnet form, expresses in itself the mal du siĂ¨cle and his own passions for endless wandering, ending up inconsolable. Serembe is a Western Romanticist with subjective caprices.
Naim FrashĂ«ri (1846-1900) is equally important as an apostle of the nation, a poet and creator of the Albanian literary language. He created the hymn to the homeland with his BagĂ«ti e BujqĂ«si (1886) [The Pastoral Life], the hymn to beauty with his poem Bukurija (1890) [The Beauty], as well as the hymn to the national hero with the epic poem SkĂ«nderbeu (1898) [Scanderbeg]. While engaged in complex epic ventures, Naim FrashĂ«ri remains a lyrical poet, whereas his text fraught with religious and national moralizations, his goal being educational.
The theoretical codifier of the Albanian Romantic School is Jeronim De Rada with his Parime tĂ« estetikĂ«s (1861) [Principles of Aesthetics], where his classical learning is cross-bred with his personal experience to give rise to the fascination with the genre of poetry. However, the ideological-national codifier of this school is Sami FrashĂ«ri with his ShqipĂ«ria: Ă§â€™ka qenĂ«, Ă§â€™Ă«shtĂ« e Ă§â€™do tĂ« bĂ«hetĂ« (1899) [Albania: Its Past, Its Present, and Its Future], in which the Romantic dreams and realities for his nation and land are sublimated.
The dominant figures of the Albanian Romantic School are Epithet and Simile.
3. The Critical School
The basic characteristic feature of this school is that it abandons the writing and cultural model of glorification, to move instead to the opposite, the critical model. With it, a diversity of individual styles and discourses kicks off. The poetic language and versification are refined, whereas literary culture of writing is further consolidated. While national themes are still preserved, the authors themselves intensify tendencies towards social subjects, becoming as a result more critically-oriented.
Authors of formidable cultural and literary background, who are well-versed in the Western literary traditions, make their way to the literary scene.
While there are still authors who want to crown the longing for the national epic poem â€“ the literary forms are versatile, including lyrical poetry, epic poetry, drama, elementary and developed forms in fiction. For the first time, judgment on current literature in the form of criticism materializes.
The most prominent authors of this literary school are:
Ndre Mjedja (1866-1937), the great master of verse, who, with his Andrra e JetĂ«s (1917) [The Dream of Life] does not create a hymn to, but rather a testimony of Albanian life, treating also the great metaphysical themes in a concrete plot of land, as he knows bare life first-hand. He is a great master of the sonnet, Lissus (1928).
Andon Zako Ă‡ajupi (1866-1930), the most critical soul of the age, who with the stinging touch of irony and satire inverts the Biblical themes and discourse, introducing instead popular jargon. With his work Baba Musa lakuriq (1905) [Father Musa Nude] establishes the form of parody in Albanian.
Gjergj Fishta (1871-1940), who, while writing for full four decades the epic poem Lahuta e Malcis [The Highland Lute], alongside this, that is, established the Albanian satire with Anzat e Parnasit [The Wasps of Parnassus] and Gomari i Babatasit [Babatasiâ€™s Donkey], which treat concrete issues of life in the Albanian world. In reality, Fishta creates the critical style, bringing down taboo themes.
Faik Konica (1875-1942), a brilliant stylist of the age, who, with both his essays and other literary writings alike shapes his own critical style, scrapping influences on the Albanian culture in the pursuit of authenticity. His unfinished work, Dr. GjĂ«lpĂ«ra zbulon rrĂ«njĂ«t e dramĂ«s sĂ« Mamurrasit (1924) [Dr. Needle Unearths the Roots of the Drama of Mamurras] dissects the psycho-social life of the time.
Zef Skiroi (1865-1927) in his work Te dheu i huaj (1900, 1940) [In the Alien Land] mourns the misery of collective alienation and calls for redemption, whereas in his last poem Mino (1923) laments over personal grief and the murderous aggressiveness, which has ceased caring about human values. It concerns a dramatic showdown between heroism and coward ness.
Fan S. Noli (1882-1965), with his play IsraelitĂ« e FilitsinĂ« (1907) [Israelities and Philistines] and his poems, turns the fundamental social ideas of the time into literary ideas. He develops a poetical and rhetorical discourse that rests on Biblical figures, which he wants to put to the test and translate into real life. His rhetorical style, full of emotional nuances, leads towards a brilliant polemics.
The theoretical and critical codifier of this school is Faik Konica, the first critic and the founder of Albanian literary criticism. With his essay KohĂ«tore e letrave shqipe (1906) [A Chronicle of the Albanian Letters] and other texts about his contemporaries, Konica laid down the theoretical foundations for literary interpretation. Konicaâ€™s seminal theory, which represents the critical school -- and his personal vocation for that matter -- is that a distinction should be made finally between what constitutes patriotism and what constitutes literature. This prompted, later on, interminable polemics in the Albanian letters.
The dominant and representative figures of this literary school are Irony and Sarcasm.
4. The Modern School
It is a school wherein, finally, the Albanian literature does not have a mission, but becomes an essence in its own right, and self-sufficing. There is nothing like a unifying style of the age, because creative individualities and sets of individual poetics are formed and consolidated. The literary discourse translates everything into its specific language.
The general or collective subjects are swept aside; individual subjects and destinies are introduced instead. The subject of the nation or the society no longer dominates, but rather the subject of the man and his physical or metaphysical dilemmas.
Perfectionism of poetry and the verse is pursued up to and including pure poetry; there are likewise new poetical developments which lead towards the free verse and concrete expression.
All literary forms materialize and attain perfection: poetry structured to the level of book-level orderliness; modern fiction, with short stories inter-related thematically and stylistically; Neo-classical drama comes into existence, reaching the due level of form, whereas literary criticism encompasses fields of literary interpretation, up to the establishment of a literary theory.
The dominant authors of this school are:
Lasgush Poradeci (1899-1987) is the prince of modern Albanian letters. He is the master of metaphor and the perfect poetical verse and form, the great language inventor, who with his poetic collections Vallja e Yjve (1933) [Dance of the Stars] and Ylli i ZemrĂ«s (1937) [Star of the Heart] created a singular poetic system in terms of both form/structure and meaning, unique in the Albanian literature as a whole. Blending beauty and horror, Lasgush Poradeci makes clear how singular the poetical â€śfiery languageâ€ť is, and how deep the authentic Albanian song is, for that matter.
Ernest Koliqi (1903-1975), the founder of modern Albanian short story, a unique master of style. A master who takes up traditional subjects, refracting the fate of the individual against the norm in his book Hija e Maleve (1929) [Shadow of the Mountains]; treats urban subjects with internal reflections in his Tregtar flamujsh (1935) [Merchant of Flags] and brings up the issue of the art of self-knowledge in his book Pasqyrat e NarĂ§izit (1936) [The Mirrors of Narcissus].
Ethem Haxhiademi (1902-1965), the first great Albanian playwright, who builds the structure and the scheme of the Albanian Neo-classical drama, with an internal harmony of virtually mathematical balance. His tragedies feature Biblical and ancient subjects and heroes, such as Abeli [Abel], Pirro [Pirrus], and Akili [Achilles], as well as Albanian heroes, such as SkĂ«nderbeu (1935) [Scanderbeg].
Mitrush Kuteli (1907-1967), another variant of the modern Albanian short story writer, who conjoins the folklore fantasy and its narrative scheme with the Biblical and Gogolian writing culture. From his first book Net shqiptare (1938) [Albanian Nights] to the work he left in manuscript E madhe Ă«shtĂ« gjĂ«ma e mĂ«katit (1947) [Great Is the Calamity of Sin], Kuteli unveiled the individual suffering and passions in a dramatic showdown with the norm and death.
Millosh Gjergj Nikolla (1911-1938), a poet who died in his youth introduced colloquial language in his poetry and exalted free verse in his Vargjet e lira (1936) [Free Verse]; he introduced the trivial, day-to-day, subject in his fiction, Novela tĂ« qytetit tĂ« veriut (1938) [Novellas of the Northern Town].
A number of critical individualities stand out in this period, but the purest interpreter and theoretician of modern developments remains Mitrush Kuteli with his essay Poetika e Lasgush Poradecit (1937) [The Poetics of Lasgush Poradeci] and his book ShĂ«nime letrare (1944) [Literary Notes].
The representative and dominant figure of this literary school is the Metaphor.
5. Socialist Realism School
The leftist ideology, transformed into a social convention with pretensions of codifying a literary method, was legalized as the Socialist Realism method. Of course, as a satellite derivation of the Russian Soviet model. The restoration of a mission for the writer in the society and literatureâ€™s role as a service, with a novel collective set of subjects, but now not national, but rather ideological, with international premises.
This literature articulates conflicts of layers society, which are resolved by the positive hero as a missionary of the progressive idea. A Neo-Romanticism around the project of a society of the future, which is ways distant from the benchmark of the declared reality. Literature as an art applied to serve social and ideological needs.
The most preferred literary forms, the long Socialist Realism poem with a subject, the short story, and a gradual domination of the novel in the readerâ€™s horizon of expectation. Dearth of plays. Subjective literary discourses missing in the face of the overflow of general schematic discourse.
The following remain the most lasting authors of this school:
Hivzi Sulejmani (1912-1976), initially a political activist. Pursuer of the absolute and the man of ideals, with ingredients of justice and humanity. Creator of the literary character based on autobiographical evidence, especially in his novel NjerĂ«zit (1952-1966) [The People] and the collection of short stories Era dhe kolona (1959 [The Wind and the Column]. Creator of the disappointed hero, whose ideological schema is distorted by lifeâ€™s experience.
Petro Marko (1913-1991), thrilled by the internationalist idea, who created the cult novel of the age on the civil war in Spain, Hasta la vista (1958). He rebelled later on, but always within the system of values and ideas of his youth related to society and literature.
Jakov Xoxa (1923-1979), the strongest portrayer of the Albanian village life, a master in developing characters and depicting nature. His masterpiece is Lumi i vdekur (1965) [The Dead River], comparable for a lot with Sholohovâ€™s novel The Quiet River Don. This Xoxa novel has become much loved by the readers because, for the first time in literature, the destinies of families from Albania and Kosova are tied up.
Ismail Kadare (1936), the most prominent author of this school, with an outstanding gift; has managed to emerge as the greatest rebel within the bounds of the method, articulating personal projections and raising questions in an associative way. Initially a poet fascinated by Majakovski, he becomes renowned with his novel Gjenerali i ushtrisĂ« sĂ« vdekur (1963) [The General of the Dead Army], where the negative character (negative hero) is portrayed, but this time of the enemy, the occupier. His subsequent novels, either as social frescos or autobiographical reflections, have not attained the fame of the first novel. Kadare has never ceased gripping his readers with his formidable expressiveness.
DritĂ«ro Agolli (1931), a literary pupil of the Soviet school, as a poet is more authentic in his intimate lyrical poetry than in his programmatic and propagandistic constructions. In prose fiction, his greatest success has been ShkĂ«lqimi dhe rĂ«nia e shokut Zylo (1973) [The Rise and Fall of Comrade Zylo], a novel. It is a humoristic novel which plays around with characters of the Communist ruling apparatus, mocking them, but never reaching the level of rejecting them outright.
The main codifier of the Socialist Realism School is DhimitĂ«r Shuteriqi. This author had as early as in the 1930â€™s started a public discussion with his PĂ«r njĂ« drejtim tĂ« ri letrar [For a New Literary Direction]. It seems that his early theory about social literature and the statement of literary pragmatism led him easily towards the codification of ideological literature after WWII and the change of social order in Albania.
The dominant and representative figures of the Socialist Realism School are the Contrast and Hyperbole.
6. The Dissidence School
This is not a proclaimed literary school, but reconstructed a posteriori. At the outset it is but a derivative of the dominant Socialist Realism method. Initially it had to do with the â€śforgetfulnessâ€ť about the idea of progress, abandoning the universal idea of enthusiasm and the absolute, to dip into personal dilemmas, the unravelling of the thematic and discourse model. This in effect means acceptance of modern discourse forms, shunning rhetorical forms of literature.
I choose to call it more of a derivation than a school, because it did not develop in normal conditions; texts did not communicate with the readers, and censorship created a vicious circle wherein it was not clear whether the writer was banned because of the work, or else the work suffered because of the social rebellion and the proscription of the writer himself.
Taking stock of the values, several authors stand out from amongst the literature of dissidence.
KasĂ«m Trebeshina (1926) in his collection of novellas Stina e stinĂ«ve (1991) [The Season of Seasons] and the novel KĂ«nga shqiptare (2001) [The Albanian Song] writes a prose fiction overflowing with lyricism, a cultivated style, and, seemingly along the path of Kuteliâ€™s modern fiction.
Bilal Xhaferri (1935-1987), known especially with his famous elegies about Ă‡amĂ«ria and the novel Krastakraus (1993), featuring the defeated hero, where there appear brilliant pages of description of nature, comparable with the dispositions of people, in a language of prose fiction which tends to become poetic, even when it delves into problems of identity.
Zef Zorba (1920-1993) with a single book left in manuscript, BuzĂ« tĂ« ngrira nĂ« gaz (1994) [Lips Frozen in Laughter], an elliptical articulation of poetry; it presents a conscious pursuit of form and meaning, the only effort to put together a book of poetry as a structural and semantic concept. That is, a modern alternative, corresponding with other contemporary literatures.
The clearest articulator, if not a codifier, of the literature of the dissidence is KasĂ«m Trebeshina, initially with a problem-stating article Promemoria (1953) [Memorandum], and a problem-raising text, SkicĂ« pĂ«r historinĂ« e letĂ«rsisĂ« shqipe (1993) [An Outline for the History of Albanian Literature], at the end.
The representative figure of the Dissidence School is Ellipsis.
7. The Modern School (Kosova)
It is about Kosova authors, and would be simply called modern, but, since such a school appeared before, now the modifier modern recaptures the tendency of a literary recollection, which is associated with the literature of a half century before. Therefore, it seeks re-establishing structural and literary continuity.
This school strives to synthesize the earlier literary experiences. It rules out the ideology of the actual rule (oppression), establishes the cult of the subject of freedom in both individual and national aspects. It builds up thematic and discourse correspondences with modern Albanian literature and modern literatures of the West.
The figurated literary language becomes the very essence of literature as well as a vehicle for a two-fold protection: from censorship and slippage into militantism. This literary procedure rests also on the restoration and reconstruction of the popular figure and set of themes, as in the case of phenomena of modernism.
As a consequence, this literature exhibits aestheticized literary forms in poetry, fiction, and drama. In the field of literary criticism, the basic problems of interpretation and the theoretical discourse of contemporary literature are discussed.
Amongst the most prominent authors of this school are the following:
Martin Camaj (1925-1992), a linguist and a poet, an author whose destiny was to connect modern Albanian literature in Albania, in Kosova, and in the Diaspora. His debut was as a lyrical poet of the milieu, but his major work are the madrigals, Dranja (1981), where he seeks the roots of personal and national identity as well as the suffering and drama of the changes.
Anton Pashku (1937-1995), undoubtedly the leader of modern literature in Kosova. A great literary master, who makes a cult, a faith, out of literature, Pashku goes in for tough issues of humanity, of the past and the present, staging within his work a dialogue of ages. In this sense, his work assumes the shape of synthesis and historical recollection. He engenders a literary discourse underpinned totally by the figure, a discourse similar in his short stories Tregime fantastike [Fantastic Stories], in the novel Oh [Oh!], and in plays Tragjedi moderne [Modern Tragedies]. A unique writer of Albanian literature.
Azem Shkreli (1938-1997), commences in poetry with an idyll of the countryside, to arrive at the poetry of meditation, especially in the wake of his book Nga Bibla e heshtjes (1975) [From the Bible of Silence]. In fiction, he created the local character in the two versions of his novel Karvani i bardhĂ« (1961 and 1997) [The White Caravan]. He found his literary shelter in the formula, the morality and jargon of local vernacular language, which he re-created with passion and turned it into a work of art.
Ali Podrimja (1942), a poet from the start to this day. Initially a poet with a rebellious disposition, but with a more direct expression of outcry, Thirrjet (1961) [The Cries], later on, especially after the book collection Torzo (1971), his poetry is built upon human dilemmas, losses and incessant pursuits, with a wholly figurated language and an elliptical form, to explode ultimately again with a strong personal and elegiac sentiment, Lum lumi (1982) [Lucky/Blessed Lum].
Beqir Musliu (1945-1996), a writer of infinite fantasy, in both time and space, who produces a literary text as a forest of symbols, be it in his poetry, fiction, or drama. He created the metaphors of rimat e shqetsueme (1965) [agitated rhymes], of lulĂ«kuqet e gjakut [the red poppies of blood] and bukuria e zezĂ« (1968) [the dark beauty], comparable with the flowers of evil or the terrified beauty of Lasgush Poradeci.
Zejnullah Rrahmani (1952), a born novelist. As a twenty-year-old writer, he became famous for his novelistic treatment of the subjects of freedom, the lands, and the nation. In his most prominent novels: Sheshi i UnazĂ«s (1978) [The Ring Square], UdhĂ«timi arbdhetar (1992) [Journey through Albanian Lands], and Romani pĂ«r KosovĂ«n (2000) [The Novel on Kosova], a peculiar discourse prevails in which dramatic situations are conveyed with a lyrical language and a formidably rich and studied Albanian.
Himself an author, the critical and theoretical legislator of this school is assumed to be the author of this paper (Sabri Hamiti).
Dominant figures of this literary school are Metaphor and Metonymy.
B. THE MODELS
In the face of literary schools, which, in the course of time, mark the transformations of the national Abanian literature, even when they correspond with literary schools of other literatures, the creative Models of Albanian literature are likewise universal writing models. We distinguish three great models which refer to the whole Albanian literature, from its beginnings to the present, regardless of time references or other contexts â€“ simply as internal, authentic developments of the literary creation:
1. The model of literature at the zero degree, or the model of Representation:
2. The model of literature at the first degree, or the model of Creation;
3. The model of literature at the second degree, or the model of Re-creation.
In order to find references of these models in the Albanian literature, taking into consideration the themes, discourses, literary forms, the authors and works, further research work is needed.
In terms of development and universal communication, the Albanian literature, just like the other literatures, goes through the three degrees, which I will term: 1. Literature at the zero degree, 2. Literature at the first degree, and 3. Literature at the second degree. These levels of literature are by nature instances of characterization rather than evaluation; therefore they are equally distant from the center and should be placed in the circle, and not on plain level. The levels of literature do not represent levels of development: they are not bound by styles of epochs, by the age of the writer, or by particular cultures.
The Zero Degree of literature (the term is analogous with Roland Barthesâ€™ Zero Degree of writing) is characterized by representation (mimesis). Its pre-model is in Nature and in Life; its writing intends to translate this model into a literary model. The mode of representation rests upon simile and verisimilitude. Its success is measured against the possibility of approximating the model. It is characterized by the language of showing/conveying; the forms of writing approximate the speech, which leads towards a truthful and assertive writing. Its aim is knowledge. By virtue of an unproclaimed contract, this literature conveys the identified Place, the occurred Event, the proclaimed Time, and the familiar Personage. Examples in Albanian literature: Bardha e Temalit [Bardha of Temal] by Pashko Vasa, Lumi i vdekur [The Dead River] by Jakov Xoxa, MalĂ«sorja [The Highland Woman] by Nazmi Rrahmani.
The first degree of literature is characterized by creation (poiesis). This literature does not have a preceding model. Its writing is fact, essence, and procedure at the same time, thus creating the first, its own, model. This literature is overwhelmed by infinite subjectivity and fantasy; it does not want to resemble anything else; therefore, it establishes the cult of authenticity and originality. Its objective is Self-knowledge and the discovery of Essence. Its personal and passionate writing is fashioned upon new forms, shunning idiomatic formulas. The literature is dominated by the writing which defamiliarizes, the first astonished look, like Adamâ€™s. The Time, Place, Event, and Personage are engendered and figurated. This literature has got an unproclaimed contract with its own self. Examples: KronikĂ« nĂ« gur [Chronicle in Stone] by Ismail Kadare, Oh [Oh! ] by Anton Pashku, Sheshi i unazĂ«s [The Ring Square] by Zejnullah Rrahmani.
The second degree of literature is characterized by re-creation (metapoiesis). It recognizes/acknowledges previous models, which are models of literature. It strives to re-create the models, transforming them through trials. A new writing upon an old writing. A palimpsest (letâ€™s employ here the homologous term of GĂ©rard Genette). This literature is in pursuit of methods and procedures, and postulates a great literary learning. The learning associated primarily but not exclusively with modern times: Homer re-creates myths, as Joyce too re-creates Homerâ€™s text. Examples in Albanian literature: Mitrush Kuteli, Tat Tanushi, Anton Pashku, NĂ«n qarr po rrinte vasha [The Girl Was under an Oak Tree], Ismail Kadare, Prilli i thyer [Broken April], Kush e solli DoruntinĂ«n [Doruntine].
We are bringing examples for illustration from prose fiction, as a referential genre, to demonstrate the levels of literary procedures. We are not, however, bringing here examples from poetry, which is both personal and universal, shunning referentiality. Nor are we, for that matter, bringing examples from drama, which preserves the illusion of total representation of the model of life.
1. Sabri Hamiti, Kritika letrare, in Vepra letrare 6, Faik Konica, PrishtinĂ«, 2002;
2. Sabri Hamiti, LetĂ«rsia filobiblike,LetĂ«rsia romantike, in Vepra letrare 7, Faik Konica, PrishtinĂ«, 2002;
3. Sabri Hamiti, LetĂ«rsia moderne, in Vepra letrare 8, Faik Konica, PrishtinĂ«, 2002;
4. Sabri Hamiti, LetĂ«rsia bashkĂ«kohore, in Vepra letrare, 9, 10, Faik Konica, PrishtinĂ«, 2002;
5. Eqrem Ă‡abej, ShqiptarĂ«t midis PerĂ«ndimit dhe Lindjes, MĂ‡M, TiranĂ«, 1994;
6. Rexhep Qosja, Historia e letĂ«rsisĂ« shqipe, Romantizmi, I, II, III, Rilindja, PrishtinĂ«, 1990;
7. Roland Barthes, Le degrĂ© zĂ©ro de lâ€™Ă©criture, Seuil, Paris, 1953;
8. GĂ©rard Genette, Palimpsestes, Seuil, Paris, 1982;
9. Northrop Frye, Le Grand Code, Seuil, Paris, 1984.