War as a Universality in the Anti-War Ethics of the Novel East from the West (Istočno od Zapada) by Vlado Mrkić

Elmir Spahić


The autobiographical novel East from the West discusses the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a nonsense in which a Serbian family experienced a fatal maelstrom. Mrkić’s anti-war perspective is focused on the destruction of the meaning of warfare in the capacity which literature encompasses which becomes the voice of ethics as a recognition between good and evil. The perspective from below, the view of the victim is affirmed, which is contrary to monumentalism, and also one of the fundamental features of the poetic testimony in the recent Bosnian-Herzegovinian literature. Regardless of the resistance to the perception of the war as a transhistorical realia, evil and crime are merely the universalities for the author, which encompass the entire history. One’s own misfortune is only a synecdochical point in an unbroken sequence of bloody traces of evil. Such an understanding is derived from Mrkić’s ethics that always starts from an individual who has a free will (If one is manipulated, it is not a justification, on the contrary!) and who is responsible for oneself.


Vlado Mrkić; war; ethics; anti-war literature; individual; collective

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