Branko Lazarević (critic)

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Branko Lazarević
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Born(1883-11-25)November 25, 1883
DiedOctober 6, 1963(1963-10-06) (aged 79)
Herceg Novi, Yugoslavia
Alma materUniversity of Belgrade
OccupationLiterary critics

Branko Lazarević (Vidin, 25 November 1883 - Herceg Novi, Yugoslavia, 6 October 1963) was one of the leading Serbian literary critics of the 20th century. He wrote reviews of most of the early works of the late 19th century Serbian authors. [1][2]


Branko Lazarević was born in Vidin, Bulgaria, to father Đorđe Lazarevicć of Negotin, from where he fled after the Timok Rebellion. His mother Vukosava Stojadinović is the niece of the Serbian poet Milica Stojadinović Srpkinja. Đorđe Lazarević's ancestors came to the Negotin region from Sjenica, from Peshtera and Stari Vlah, and took part in the First Serbian uprising. According to other sources, Lazarević was born in Negotin.[3]

Young Lazarević attended the Zajecar Gymnasium and then studied at the University of Belgrade. He became a substitute professor in Belgrade in 1911, and then continued his education in Europe; in Paris, Munich and Rome, where he specialized in aesthetics and art. Until the liberation wars he was intensely engaged in writing; literary work and theatre criticism. He appeared in literature in 1907, in Belgrade's Srpski književni glasnik, with a two-part study on the poetry of Svetislav Stefanović.[4]

In the Balkan wars, he was a reserve lieutenant in the Serbian army.[5]During the First World War, he served at the front, and then in 1917, he was appointed head of the Presbytery of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Serbia, in Corfu. Lazarević also participated in the cultural life of the exiled by renewing the publication of Srpske novine.[6]The first issue -- in exile -- appeared on 7 April 1916 at Corfu, and the second issue introduced a weekly supplement, Zabavnik (Entertainment). Branko Lazarević, the literary critic and former disciple of Bogdan Popović, was the first editor of the newspaper and magazine supplement. [7]In Zabavnik editor Lazarević wrote a study on Serbian folk poetry. He examined the influence of Serbian epic poetry on the literary works of Serbia's contemporary writers. It was his opinion that Serb epic poetry transcended the limitations of national boundaries in the manner akin to Homeric legacy.

Lazarević is remembered for reminding readers in 1917 that more than 100 years ago, in 1813, the daily paper first came to life under Karađorđe's rule. A rare example of production in the later years of his life, rare, but not absolutely unique. The case of Branko Lazarević bears witness to this, the once well-known essayist and critic Lazarević continued to make a name for himself as a well-known essayist and critic. Although very young and just at the start of his career, even before the Great War, he became an authoritative figure in Serbian literature, including later on.

Political life

Branko Lazarević entered politics in 1918 and, like some other Serbian poet-diplomats (Jovan Dučić, Milan Rakić, Rastko Petrović, Ivo Andrić, Miloš Crnjanski), made a successful diplomatic career. He was first appointed Serbian consul in Washington, DC in 1918, [8]and then was in Chicago until 1922. After returning to Europe, he became an ambassador in Berlin for a short time in 1922, and then moved to the Czechoslovak Republic. He was an ambassador to Prague twice (with a break in 1925) until March 1929. He spoke the Czech language, gained a great reputation and his many friends there helped to publish his book in the Czech language, entitled "The Three Greatest Yugoslav Values". In the meantime, he worked briefly at the ministry in Belgrade and distinguished himself in a special diplomatic mission in Tirana (1925). [9] After the Prague period, between 1929-1934, he was appointed to the Yugoslav embassy in Warsaw, then from 1936 to 1937. he was the Envoy (title) minister of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in Ankara[10]. While living in Poland, he was elected a member of the "Yugoslav-Polish Scientific Institute" in 1931. He was briefly the Yugoslav ambassador to Vienna in 1937, and then in 1938-1939 in the same position in Brussels.

The post-war communist government removed him from the public scene. Lazarević wrote his unpublished political debates, diaries, soliloquies, essays and reflections in imposed isolation until he was expelled from the Writers' Union and imprisoned from 1948 until 1951.

Branko Lazarević's lost legacy was found by accident in 2004 in Herceg Novi.

Literary work

His political debates have a wide cultural-historical and anthropological significance, primarily for understanding the general social context of the first half of the 20th century, and then for understanding the identity and mentality of the Yugoslavs. He wrote his pre-war political debates arrogantly and professionally, as a distinguished royal diplomat and elite intellectual. His philosophy of history was based on the analysis of global historical movements.

In addition to literature, Lazarević is also a theatre and literary critic under the strong influence of Jovan Skerlić, Bogdan Popović and Pavle Popović. He was a talented and very productive creator. He was a contributor to several newspapers and magazines and appeared in 1912 as the director of the newspaper Reč.[11]

In 1945, he wrote all three major political treatises, which remained unpublished in manuscripts: the program essay East-West and Yugoslavia, the socio-anthropological review Pucina je stoka jedna grdna and the extensive treatise "War, Revolution, Democracy and Art".

"War, Revolution, Democracy and Art" is a comprehensive civic critique of communist practice and the left totalitarian ideology of the modern age. In 1945, Lazarević also wrote a socio-psychological discussion on the character, movement and motives of the masses, which always begin and bring about a revolution. Among the Herceg Novi manuscripts, in the legacy of Branko Lazarević, his extensive "Diary of One Nobody" written from 1943 to 1947 was found, which includes the last days of the German occupation and the first year of communist rule in Belgrade. Lazarević's Diary of One Nobody was hidden and unknown for sixty years.


  1. Milojkovic-Djuric, Jelena; Milojković-Djurić, Jelena (1988). Tradition and Avant-garde: Literature and Art in Serbian Culture, 1900-1918. ISBN 9780880331319.
  2. Cite book|last=Лазаревић|first=Бранко|last2=Пувачић|first2=Душан|title=Критички радови Бранка Лазаревића|publisher=Матица српска|url=Бранко+Лазаревић+%28Видин&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=у+Видину%7Caccessdate=29 Septembar 2017
  3. Воја Стојановић Боке: "Заслужни синови...", Београд 1941. године
  4. Видосава Голубовић, Станиша Тутњевић: "Српска авангарда у периодици" (зборник радова), Нови Сад 1996. године
  5. "Илустрована ратна хроника", Београд 1912. године
  6. The Slavic Literatures and Modernism: A Nobel Symposium, August 5-8 1985. 1986. ISBN 9789174021806.
  7. "Serbian Studies". 2002.
  8. "Велика Србија", Солун 1918. године
  9. "Време", Београд 3. октобар 1929. године
  10. уметнички каталог: "Изложба турских слика и публикација", Београд 1937. године
  11. "Просветни гласник", Београд 1913. године

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