Vida Bicman: Slovene-American Writers after 1945

In the wake of the expansion of the European Union and the ongoing process of cultural, social, academic and political coalescence we can observe a growing interest in the cultures, histories, economies and research of the new European states, whose descendants also constitute minorities in the USA and Canada. What is becoming increasingly more apparent is the need for a better and more complex understanding of the present state of these diverse cultures and the developments that influenced it, which need to be investigated in the light of recent scientific findings. This dissertation aims to shed more light on the literature of the Slovenian minority in the USA and Canada, with particular regard to the literary, cultural and sociopolitical developments after 1945. Authors writing in English will be looked at, their works analyzed and compared considering thematic structures, intrinsic and implied value systems, as well as the authors’ more or less prominent inclination toward social activism or, alternatively, reserved individualism. Literary and cultural theories will be taken into account to ensure a broader and more complex perspective.

While the dissertation will give a broad overview of the literary activities in the English-speaking Slovenian minority it will focus on a select group of authors in its later stages, whose texts will be analyzed and compared in greater detail. The transnational character of the thesis aims to better the understanding of the culture and history of Austria’s southern neighbor Slovenia, as well as contribute to the discussion about one of the less known minorities in the mosaic that is the literary landscape of the USA and Canada.

(University of Graz)