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The Nonconformists

Nick Miller

Chapter 9. The Children of Cain

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  • 1 Dobrica Ćosić, “Pisac u istorijskom paklu,” Književne novine (November 1, 1987) 5.

Cain, the first son of the first man Adam, kills his only brother Abel, founding the archetype of human existence. Fratricide would remain till this day the constant of human fate1
Dobrica Ćosić, 1987

1Mića Popović and Dobrica Ćosić concluded their reinvention of Serbian identity in the 1980s, continuing as they had to track each other’s work and building on themes they had established in the previous decade. Ćosić remained, as always, the more public and influential figure, but Popović at least mirrored, if not led, him in working out his vision of Serbianness. The work of the two friends is complementary but also reveals interesting contrasts. While both emphasize the degrading effect that communism had on Serbian society and the need for somebody to fill the role of savior, their work in the 1980s betrays their unique personalities. Ćosić would remain the expressionless face of Serbian introspection, a moralizing force for societal regeneration; Popović would for the most part play the role of jester to Ćosić’s high priest, mixing his warnings of imminent catastrophe with a healthy dose of pointed and often self-deprecatory humor.


2For Mića Popović, the 1980s were not a particularly productive decade, but those paintings—and one novel—that he did produce concluded the development of his vision with great clarity. When he did articulate it, he did so in an artistic language that steered clear of Ćosić’s selfimportance; in fact, Popović allowed his idiosyncratic sense of humor to take over. The most effective rendering of Popović’s version of the vision came in 1983, when he painted The Last Supper without a Savior. Last Supper without a Savior offers an opportunity to examine where Popović, as a representative of the Serbian intellectual elite, saw Serbs, Serbia, and his intellectual colleagues at that point. In some ways, it stands as a complement to Serbs in the Waiting Room. Both are built on the argument that Serbs are without guidance and leadership, spiritual or otherwise. Where Serbs in a Waiting Room conveys this rudderless and humiliated impression visually, Last Supper without a Savior does so by its choice of theme as well as its execution. It is the execution that is radically different in Last Supper without a Savior, though. Scenes always had a split personality: on one hand, an almost maudlin pathos pervades many of the paintings and Popović’s discussions of them, but on the other hand, they are imbued with a whimsical spirit that one suspects is intrinsic to Popović’s personality—he was a person who occasionally had trouble taking things as seriously as others around him (Ćosić, for instance) wished him to. He travelled from that pathos to that whimsy when painting Serbs in a Waiting Room and Last Supper without a Savior.

3The Last Supper Without a Savior is a painting of twelve men at a dinner table, with one central chair empty. The men are with one exception contemporary, and many are identifiably Serbian (five wear the šajkača, Danilo Stojković as Gvozden is present, as is Lazar Trifunović, the art critic). The twelve seated are mostly unserious. One shoots a slingshot; another gesticulates while drinking from a pitcher of wine; Gvozden peeps over the shoulder of another man, trying to listen in to his conversation. The rest sit around, eating and chatting. One of the twelve looks annoyed at the rest, while a flag-waver’s face is wrapped in the same type of shroud that covered Popović in Manipulation. Last Supper without a Savior is a picture of a Serbia without leadership, and of Serbs who do not even recognize the seriousness of their predicament. Unlike those in the waiting room, who simply wait, however, these Serbs will dance and drink and talk about—but never act to stop—their collective demise. Here, as with Serbs in a Waiting Room, Jevrem, Rear End, and so many others, Popović has painted a complement to the written work of Ćosić. Would a Serbian savior appear?

  • 2 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 237.
  • 3 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 237.

4As with earlier Scenes, we have Ćosić’s commentary, always pulling Popović’s artistic vision into line with his own. Ćosić, on The Last Supper without a Savior: “Why at this last supper is there no Savior?…Did he betray his followers or did his followers betray him? Or is it that Serbs, because they are Serbs, neither have, nor will find, their Savior?…In Mića Popović’s experience, Serbs represent disharmony, mutual misunderstanding, eternal estrangement, the absense of a spiritual center, a shared goal and direction…”2 But whereas Serbs in a Waiting Room was frightening and complex, Last Supper without a Savior was for Ćosić “illustrative but not deep. Somehow it is too obvious.”3 If Ćosić could not deal with the frivolity of the scene and its characters, it was nonetheless easy for him to accommodate his metaphor of the divisive nation to a painting portraying the eve of Christianity’s original act of betrayal.

  • 4 Mića Popović, Velika ljubav Anice Huber (Belgrade: Triptih, 1999).

5In harmony with his mischievous side, Popović produced an epistolary novel in 1985/1986 which paraded as a love story but actually strove to get to the heart of Titoism. The Love Story of Anica Huber (Velika ljubav Anice Huber) did not make it into the public eye until much later, in part because its reduction of Titoism’s appeal to the erotic offended the humor-impaired members of the Serbian intelligentsia to whom Popović passed it in 1986. (It is certainly the only existing critique of Titoism that includes a reference to the dictator’s “chiseled penis.”) But, in keeping with Popović’s (and Ćosić’s) premise that the Serbs themselves were responsible for their own degradation, the author not only critiqued Titoists, but also ingenuously tweaked the behavior of his own friends and colleagues in the critical intellectual community. Popović circulated it as samizdat in 1986; it was not formally published until after his death, when it was rediscovered among his papers, in 1999.4

6To structure his novel, Popović used imaginary letters from Anica Huber, a good Titoist in her sixties, to a journalist from Germany named Ramon. Beginning their correspondence just after Tito’s death in 1980, they become lovers. The “love” mentioned in the title, however, is not the love between these two, but rather that of Anica for Tito himself. Romantic tension in the novel (which has no literary function other than to enable Popović to move his project forward) springs from the jealousy that Ramon claims to feel for the dead Tito, who clearly occupied a special place in Anica’s heart. It becomes apparent to the reader—but not to the obtuse and narcissistic Anica—that Ramon is using their putative love affair to pry information from her about the past and present of the communist system in Yugoslavia. The letters really serve as a means for Popović to critique the vacuousness of Titoism and its adherents, tweak the sensibilities of his fellow critics of Titoism, make fun of himself a bit, but most importantly, reduce the appeal of Tito himself to an erotic level.

  • 5 Popović, Velika ljubav, 11.
  • 6 Popović, Velika ljubav, 12.
  • 7 Popović, Velika ljubav, 71.

7Titoism emerges as a new religion, and Popović’s elucidation of this thesis is rather formulaic. He satirizes the absurd emphasis that the party placed on remaining on Tito’s path even after his death: “…to each of us it was clear that His great thought would live also after His physical death, that he would lead us infallibly on the right path…”5 He ridicules Anica’s banal suggestion that Tito knew and understood all: “the President explained that the work of art must be clear, optimistic, and fun. Some of our artists…were not at that moment able to understand the depth and reach of the President’s idea…”6 Tito becomes in the eyes of the reverential the sole true communist: “Perhaps there was only one man devoted to the world Revolution and Socialism, and at the same time without any sort of illusions regarding the realities of the East? Perhaps He knew (or at least suspected) in those distant, distant years the truth which we began to realize only after the war, in 1948.”7

  • 8 Popović, Velika ljubav, 24.
  • 9 Popović, Velika ljubav, 43–44.
  • 10 Popović, Velika ljubav, 86.

8Popović makes references to his colleagues and friends in the book, most of which operate as inside jokes. Anica, for instance, rips on journalists for interviewing Ćosić as Tito lays dying: “Truly unheard of impudence!”8 Or, in a self-referential passage: “That M. Popović is no artist at all!…Now that gentleman lives in New York; his masters paid him well indeed for working against his own people.”9 Or in reference to Kosovo: “After the fact, I got mad again remembering D. Ćosić and the multitude of his fantasies about the supposed forced emigration of Serbs from Kosovo. As if Kardelj did not study the whole problem fundamentally and as if he, with the help of the class approach, did not solve those questions for all time.”10

9More interesting than either the true-to-life and thus not particularly subtle critique of the emptiness of Yugoslavs’ devotion to Tito, or the inside jokes, is Popović’s farcical rendering of the concerns and behavior of his own pals in the critical intelligentsia. Anica’s father, no friend of hers, was once a communist but is now consumed by rage at Tito and the communist system.

  • 11 Popović, Velika ljubav, 21–22.

But his blind hatred toward the most holy personalities and greatest achievements of the Party and the Revolution so deformed him, that he could only hallucinate and imagine the most unbelievable things that could never have happened in the History of our Party and were logically impossible. My wretched father (now completely crazy) asserts that he saw the most loved son of our nations and nationalities among Austrian soldiers as they hanged citizens and peasants in Mačva in 1914….He says that he saw the leader of our Revolution in 1915 on the occasion of the withdrawal of the Serbian army across Albania. I was honestly saddened when he dragged out the old story that in 1915 our Leader had changed into Albanian clothing and that he shot at Serbian soldiers who were retreating from the long, obsolete guns, so-called muskets…. Who was in the uniform of the Austro-Hungarian soldier who executed my grandfather in 1916? Naturally, He was…. In 1876, the Leader of our Revolution went to Kragujevac as a communist agitator!? While there, Serbian Social-Democrats had to supply him with endless girls.11

10At the point of its writing, this description was not far removed from the reality of the intellectual critique of Tito; by the late 1980s, the only element of this that would still constitute obvious satire would be the placement of Tito in Kragujevac before he was born. Popović has Anica further ridicule the intelligentsia’s obsession with the person of Tito:

11For example, last year a friend who has listened in on the conversations… of various dissidents and reactionaries…told me how even those types cannot desist from prattling on about him. In fact, before the beginning of one of their evenings, they unanimously

  • 12 Popović, Velika ljubav, 82–83.

“resolved” that they wouldn’t say a word about him, but that they would exclusively discuss “serious themes.” And then, says my friend, not five minutes passed and they all began again to babble on about Him alone.12

12I think that we should take these comments seriously—that, in other words, Popović was not using such stories to poke fun at the Anicas of the world, but rather that he seriously wondered about the focus of a Serbian intellectual elite that could become so obsessed with a single personality. In fact, these passages work well with the theme of “Last Supper,” which slyly condemned the silliness of Serbs’ intellectual leaders.

13Those aspects of Popović’s novel are reduced to mere footnotes when compared to its vital central theme: that the revolution itself was a function of eroticism. Anica Huber leaves no doubt whatsoever that what compelled her to become communist was not ideology, social concerns, or a revolutionary temperament. Instead, this vacuous, unserious woman became a communist because she fell in love with Tito. Popović’s novel is littered with erotic musings; in fact, its fundamental structure is driven by the fact that Ramon has replaced Tito in her heart. It is no accident, either, that where Tito took advantage of her eroticism (and by extension, the erotic sensibilities of millions of Yugoslavs) to trick her into submission, now Ramon the alleged journalist is using her in similar ways to trick her into revealing all she knows about the communist movement in Yugoslavia.

  • 13 Popović, Velika ljubav, 103.
  • 14 Popović, Velika ljubav, 29.
  • 15 Popović, Velika ljubav, 75.
  • 16 Popović, Velika ljubav, 140.
  • 17 Popović, Velika ljubav, 142.

14She is easily tricked; this is no particularly sharp woman. This is a communist who thinks that the most important thing to know about Tito is that he always brought chocolate as gifts, and not pears, as Veljko Vlahović had once said in a passing reference.13 In her recollections, she reduces herself to a sexual essence. Minor references to sex abound: when she is a young teen, her father greets her after a long separation by asking “Aren’t you ashamed of the size of your breasts? Bind them with something!”14 But the key to Popović’s farce lies in the way that Anica became a woman and a communist: having met Tito, her “days as a girl ended after noon, according to an ancient hindu ritual, by which a virgin is led to the stone deity in order to become a woman on its chiseled penis.”15 In the end, Anica’s father has figured out the true dynamic. He discovers that Ramon is a spy as well as her lover; upset that she has brought a spy into his life, he writes her a kiss-off letter: “Poor Anica, you have been condemned to see all of your fucks turn out to be spies… You lead your life between crime and kitsch.”16 “And now Anica, you, your lovers, and your feuilleton writers can go fuck off.”17

  • 18 V. Milivojević, “Osvešćivanje uspavanog naroda,” in Glas javnosti (Belgrade) March 15, 2000; M.F., (...)

15Popović made thirty copies of “The Love Story of Anica Huber,” numbered them, added his own artwork , and passed them out to friends in 1986. Ćosić is reported to have dismissed it as farce inadequate to explain the dramatic history of the Communist movement in Yugoslavia. Borisav Pekić left his copy in a taxi. Milo Gligorijević, then employed by NIN, got small portions published in that magazine, but nobody would touch the entire manuscript. Subsequent critics have credited the manuscript as an attempt to bring Serbs into contact with their history, But Anica Huber’s iterations of Serbian history are inconsequential, buried in a story that is really about a silly woman who was governed by her G-spot more than her conscience or her ideology, and/or an alleged revolutionary whose true appeal was the size and shape of his penis. The emptiness of Communist ideology and the charismatic, even erotic appeal of Tito are the fundamental themes of his book.18

  • 19 Predrag Palavestra, Književnost: Kritika ideologije (Belgrade: Srpska književna zadruga, 1991) 347

16As Popović created The Love Story of Anica Huber, he was also working on a painting that expressed an entirely different sort of critique of Titoism in Yugoslavia, one that used the sort of language we associate more closely with Ćosić: melodramatic, overserious, and tragic. With this painting, Popović complied with the logic of his own metaphor, offering a crucifixion to accompany his Last Supper. The painting, May 1, 1985, memorialized the attack by bottle on Djordje Martinović. White-capped (Albanian) men hoist a man onto the cross; a policeman (the regime) stands guard over the ceremony; a discarded bottle sits in the lower right-hand corner. It is obvious on first glance that this painting depicts something about martyrdom among Albanians, but it leaves a distinctly kitschy first impression which gives no indication to outsiders of why it might have been displayed upon Popović’s election to the Serbian Academy, or why Predrag Palavestra would have said within a few years that Popović had given voice to the “poetics of catharsis”19 in Serbia, or how it could have moved Dobrica Ćosić to claim for Popović the status of Delacroix, Daumier, or Goya.

  • 20 This painting was once thought to be a rendering of the martyrdom of St. Bartholomew; Popović was (...)

17May 1, 1985 referenced the Martyrdom of St. Philip, a painting by Jusepe de Ribera from 1639 depicting that apostle’s crucifixion.20 The painting, which, like Last Supper without a Savior, is built on a religious metaphor and shows Popović moving away from the themes and execution most common to Scenes, is Popović’s final cry for Serbs to recognize and address their own oppression (he never exhibited another new work). It continues the later emphasis in Scenes on direct confrontation with a Serbian, as opposed to universal, essence. What had been painted as documentary (Vuk, At the Beginning of March This Year in a Circle of Friends), minor human tragedy (Jevrem, Rear End), malaise (Serbs in a Waiting Room), or with a humorous panache (Last Supper without a Savior) here was painted as linked with the human condition, as a question of universal import even as it remained specifically Serbian. And here, and really for the first time, Popović emphasizes the oppression of Serbs by others rather than the divisiveness of the Serbs themselves. Contrast Last Supper without a Savior with May 1, 1985: the former portrays Serbs as divided and divisive, jolly but unaware of their own sad fate; the latter establishes Serbs as the blameless victims of others. Following the depressing Serbs in a Waiting Room and the silly Last Supper Without a Savior, it is a mawkish contribution to the cause.

18If the painting works, it does so because it addresses a thoroughly modern, twentieth-century problem by reviving the universal language of Christianity as well as older Serbian imagery rooted in the folk tradition, although the latter is only present in the most tenuous way. Serbian cultural memory was prepared in 1986 by Serbia’s cultural mythology, as embedded in its oral tradition, to understand a painting that depicted the victimization of Serbs by Muslims; it was prepared to recognize the critical element of self-betrayal implicit in the placement of the blue-uniformed policeman as the overseer of the entire event; it was prepared to draw the conclusion that Serbs once again needed to come together to forestall the advance of foreign hordes. The memory was prepared, but this painting attempts no revival of the Kosovo epic, no continuation of a Serbian commitment to avenge the death of Tsar Lazar. Instead, it is instantly recognizable as a critique of the effects of that twentieth-century curse on the Serbs, bolshevism. The fact that Serbs’ fate is rendered as a crucifixion tells us that Popović sees the death of Djordje Martinović as much more profoundly compelling than any lost, ancient battle; the treatment of Serbs by Albanians and their patrons, the Communists of Yugoslavia, is of universal importance.

  • 21 Gligorijević, Odgovor, 32.

19In June 1986, Popović was elected a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU). His acceptance speech, entitled “The Work of Art as the Last Bastion of a People,” was delivered to an audience confronted by May 1, 1985 as it entered the hall. In his speech, Popović would elaborate a new and, one supposes, more honest definition of engagement than the one that he had allowed to stand since the first Scenes exhibition in 1971. But since Tito’s death he had been working towards a more open acknowledgment of the way that his art functioned. In 1983, for instance, Popović moved a few steps beyond his claim that he was a mere witness: his “engagement could be understood as a sort of pragmatism, but not in the service of ideology (of any sort), but in the service of truth.”21 Here Popović provides the only plausible argument for the assertion that his work is pure witnessing and not political: they tell the truth—for him a pure and unvarnished truth; for us, it is simply his truth. In his speech to SANU in 1986, he would further develop his claim, to the point that he almost asks his listeners to grant the artist the status of seer.

  • 22 Mića Popović, “Umetničko delo kao poslednja odbrana jednog naroda,” in Glas (Belgrade: Srpska akad (...)
  • 23 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 23.
  • 24 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 23.
  • 25 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 22.
  • 26 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 25.
  • 27 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 19.

20Popović’s speech addresses two topics: the type of society in which he lives, and the art that is appropriate to that society. He argued that his Yugoslavia was “under the hegemony of a historical forgery and civil and political force…”22 His state was “arbitrary and self-satisfied and has…ended civil liberties and destroyed the pyramid of moral and earthly values…,”23 an “autarchic, narcissistic state [that] uses, aside from direct terror, other techniques as well: dumbing-down through repetition, electoral farces, and national or international ideals, whenever and wherever. But force remains what it is, no matter which abstraction produced it.”24 This type of state “destroys the nation’s essence.”25 For Popović, in this kind of state, under the long-term occupation of a foreign and self-serving idea, art becomes the “last chance” which the people will not reject, “because it is indeed the last.”26 “A nation…begins to trust the work of art as though it were a prayer for salvation, because in ruinous conditions, it speaks the truth in a direct language.”27

  • 28 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 19.
  • 29 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 22, as translated in Popović and Klunker, Mića Popović, 106.
  • 30 Popović, “Umetničko delo, 24.
  • 31 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 24, as translated in Popović and Klunker, Mića Popović, 110.
  • 32 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 27, as translated in Popović and Klunker, Mića Popović, 128.

21The art about which Popović speaks “has always been a moral act before it became an aesthetic fact.”28 “Art which takes the side of truth and not cliche, the side of freedom and not brutality, can be a reliable signpost for a people ‘that has been deprived of the right to differ,’” he told his audience.29 The argument that art “must remain in the artistic zone as if on some reservation, and that it need not mix in life, morals, politics, and fate, is insupportable and senseless,” Popović argued.30 Like many other intellectuals in Serbia during these convulsive years, he reserved for the artist/literary figure the right to filter and interpret the truth to a waiting nation: “The way and conditions in which a work of art is created are not important, nor is the area of truth about which it speaks; the important thing is the truth as a driving force, as a multifold revelation. Repressive societies are allergic to any sort of truth, even when it concerns the possibilities of the development of form in the sphere of pure artistic abstraction.”31 May 1, 1985 played a powerful role in the whole presentation. Popović addressed the work: “The title of the painting is May 1 1985. It not only poses the question of what happened on May 1st that year, but, above all, why this question has not been answered so far.”32 Popović answers that question for himself, in the painting. The farmer was martyred by Albanian nationalists who were given free rein by the Titoist regime. But was this the truth? For Popović, as we know, the truth was “a driving force, a multifold revelation [my italics],” so all that was necessary was that Serbs perceive essential elements of the truth in the work of art. If Serbs recognized and comprehended their persecution in that painting, then it told the truth.

  • 33 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 21, 22.

22Popović was not shy about placing his painting in a heroic context: he compared it implicitly with the work of Goya (whose 3 May 1808 undoubtedly inspired his own title), Daumier, Delacroix, Picasso, and Kollwitz. He also placed it in a line of Serbian works dealing in print or in paint with Serbian migrations, including the paintings of Paja Jovanović and the writings of Miloš Crnjanski and Dobrica Ćosić.33


23Unlike Popović, Ćosić had no sense of humor. His influence was rooted in his ability and willingness to incorporate Serbian cultural symbols, his version of the history of Serbs in the twentieth century, and above all his own personal fate under communism into a single compelling vision. According to this vision, he and his Serbian people are treacherous at heart, plagued by a tendency to betray and kill one another; they are fratricidal. Beyond Serbs, Ćosić wove a tapestry in which all peoples were conceived of as fratricidal, as the children of Cain. As Ćosić believed he had emerged from the darkness of servitude to corrupt communist masters who had instrumentalized fratricide, he believed that Serbs could conquer their own fratricidal past and eventually save themselves and their nation through revival and consolidation along national lines. Division, betrayal, self-sacrifice, and renewal are not novel themes in Serbian culture. Ćosić’s gift was to be able to transform these images of division into a potion that contemporary Serbian society could understand. In the process of Ćosić’s revival and recasting of these themes, they became standard components of the nationalist message imbibed by Serbs in the 1980s. Ćosić employed the authority that he enjoyed, as the one-time communist who understood both that tyrannical system and the need to escape it, to volunteer a framework for understanding Serbia’s degradation.

24Ćosić’s ascent to the pinnacle of the Serbian critical intelligentsia was spurred by this beguiling vision of fratricidal Serbia, which achieved acceptance among a broad spectrum of people in Serbian cultural and intellectual life. But even by the mid-1980s, Ćosić was not yet personally popular among the Serbian intelligentsia—there were too many ideological fissures in Serbia’s intellectual community to allow for that, since Ćosić remained a man of the left whose captivation by the Tito regime had not been forgotten. So Ćosić prepared his mea culpa—his explanation for his own seduction by communism. In interviews, in his trilogy Time of Evil, and in his public presentations, he would explain that he had foolishly but idealistically fallen into a seductive but corrupt communist movement; most importantly, in admitting his own failure, he offered other Serbian Titoists an explanation for their own lapse: the movement was devoted to taking and twisting idealistic souls like theirs, as it had his. Ćosić’s melding of his personal history with that of postwar Serbia flourished in the late 1980s: as he was once a true believer, so were the Serbian people; as he was a shocked observer of the “betrayal” of Serbia by Tito and his regime, so were the Serbian people. At that point, however, Ćosić and his Serbian people parted ways—whereas he recognized the workings, and predicted the outcome, of Tito’s exploitation of the Serbian people, that people had been deceived to the point that it could no longer even recognize its own degradation, feel its own humiliation. For Ćosić, much more than malicious Titoism was at work. Ćosić believed that Tito had done with the Serbs what the Serbs allowed him to do, as a result of what Ćosić saw as Serbs’ deeply flawed, divisive and corruptible, collective character. Fighting external enemies but also each other, Serbs, according to Ćosić needed a revival. Who better to fuel such a revival than the apostate Titoist himself?

25Ćosić’s apologia began to emerge as fiction in 1985. Time of Evil acted as a parable to explain Ćosić’s loss of faith in communism, and as such, and in spite of its mediocre literary quality, is politically his most revealing work of fiction. The first volume, The Sinner (Grešnik), appeared in 1985; the second, The Heretic (Otpadnik) in 1986; and the final two-volume installment, The Believer (Vernik) after a longer lapse, in 1990. Time of Evil is a continuation of Ćosić’s saga of the Katić family, this time with a general focus on Ivan Katić, the intellectual son of Vukašin, the central figure of Time of Death. Ivan is the sinner of the first volume, while Bogdan Dragović, a Serbian bolshevik who was also his brother-in-law, is the heretic of volume two. Vladimir Dragović, the partisan son of Bogdan and Ivan’s sister Milena, plays the role of one of the believers in volume three. Like Time of Death, Time of Evil is sprinkled with historical figures: Dragiša Vasić and Slobodan Jovanović appear in the flesh, while the characters of Bogdan Dragović and Petar Bajević are modeled after two prewar Serbian communists (Živojin Pavlović and Mustafa Golubović, respectively). The inescapable point of the trilogy: that communism is a dishonest movement and ideology which divides father from son, brother from brother.

26Time of Evil traces the fate of the Katićes of Prerovo, Ćosić’s Yoknapatawpha County, from the end of the First World War to 1941 and the destruction of the first Yugoslavia. The novel begins its examination of the period from the perspective of 1935 or thereabouts, with the earlier period covered only in flashbacks. The result is mawkish, as the reader views Yugoslavia’s creation through the prism of its failure and as communism’s idealistic appeal is treated as nothing more than the artifice of a cynical and manipulative Stalinist system. Thus Ćosić presents Yugoslavia, on its last legs by the beginning of the novel, as a tragically misguided project in which Serbs (at best) invested too much time and energy or (at worst) were exploited and then discarded by other Yugoslavs. We see communism, inspiring to Serbia’s disillusioned youth after the First World War, as it begins to devour its adherents. Illusions dashed, the Katićes live out their fates.

  • 34 Dobrica Ćosić, Grešnik (Belgrade: Beogradski izdavačko-grafički zavod, 1985) 119.
  • 35 Ćosić, Grešnik, 22.

27Time of Evil, like Time of Death, offers a plethora of characters who all serve as foci at some point or another. Unlike the earlier trilogy, here the characters are sharply drawn and plainly metaphoric. As Vukašin arguably occupied the central position in Time of Death, now Ivan’s fate draws Time of Evil’s story together. Ivan, in an Austrian prison as Time of Death closed, followed his charismatic and heroic wartime comrade Bogdan Dragović into the ranks of communists immediately following the war. Never joining the party (a failure that rendered him a second-class revolutionary in the eyes of Dragović and his mates), he still performed services for it, whether as a courier or, more often, as a writer of pamphlets and other propaganda material. As The Sinner opens, Ivan is verbally and physically accosted by members of the communist youth as he returns home one night. He has just published an appreciative article about Andre Gide’s denunciation of the Stalinist trials in the Soviet Union, and Bogdan Dragović, his brother-in-law, has responded by branding Ivan a traitor to the cause in the communist press. With such a beginning to the novel, the reader remains unexposed to the idealism and hope that presumably inspired Ivan to embrace communism in the aftermath of the First World War, except in flashbacks that serve to bridge Time of Death and Time of Evil. Those flashbacks are inevitably morose reminiscences of his earlier faith, which had been motivated by the fact that “with the long and expensive war that was our Serbian war, neither peace nor freedom were gained…Our peace immediately began with a rush to power, a rush to careers…in the moral behavior of people, probably nothing was as vulgar and base as those first postwar years.”34 Given his disgust with postwar Serbian society, he had looked to communism as inspiration: he “had once passionately believed in the appearance of the ‘new man’!”35

28The Sinner focuses loosely on Ivan Katić’s suffering as an outcast from a party he never really belonged to, except in spirit. The Heretic is devoted almost entirely to the fate of Bogdan Dragović, Ivan’s best friend, brother-in-law, but now tormentor, who led off the attacks on Ivan with an article entitled “The Mask Has Fallen,” which argued that Ivan was a traitor to the working class and to the party for having endorsed attacks on Stalin’s trials, then ongoing in Moscow. Bogdan is predictably caught up in the cleansing himself, called to Moscow to account for his actions and his loyalties. He survives his initial trials before the Comintern’s control commission, is sent back out into the field to work in Germany, but is finally ordered back to Moscow where he knows that he will share the fate of earlier purge victims: immediate execution, or life in a Siberian camp. Convinced of his own righteousness, he makes his way back to Yugoslavia, where he strikes a deal with an old police friend: he will retire and return to his own village, so long as he is not required to publicly renounce his beliefs and denounce his party. Like Ivan before him, he faces rejection by his own people, not just communists but family members: in Bogdan’s case, his son Vladimir, whom he has raised to submit completely to the will of the party. As The Heretic ends, Vladimir spits on his own father.

29In the final volume in the trilogy, entitled The Believer, there is no clear title character: it could be Vladimir, who enthusiastically follows his fellow communist youth “into the forest” as the Second World War begins; it could be Bogdan, who uses his village exile to author a tract proclaiming Stalin a corrupt perversion of communist purity; it most likely is Petar Bajević, Bogdan’s best friend and comrade in the communist movement who had moved on to serve the Soviet intelligence services directly as an agent and assassin. But, it could even be Ivan, who attempts patriotically to join the Partisans in 1941, only to be rejected by the party in the form of his own cousin, the Partisan commissar Dušan Katić. The Believer traces the fates of all four (plus those of Vukašin and Milena, Ivan’s sister and Bogdan’s wife). The Believer ends with Vladimir’s best friend Miško Pub leading a firing squad that executes Bogdan (on the orders of Petar Bajević), as the communist movement with finality conquers traditional relationships, between fathers and sons and between best friends. The trilogy follows suit, as the reader is exposed to the destruction of the Katić family by the pernicious ideology of Marxism-Leninism.

  • 36 Dobrica Ćosić, Vernik (Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1991) 68–69.
  • 37 Ćosić, Vernik, 556–57.
  • 38 Ćosić, Grešnik, 37.
  • 39 Ćosić, Grešnik, 39.
  • 40 Ćosić, Vernik, 41.
  • 41 Ćosić, Vernik, 307.
  • 42 Ćosić, Vernik, 394.

30Time of Evil is a story of despair, the Katić family serving as a metaphor for Serbian society as a whole, divided and destroyed by toxic communism. The structure of the novel is drawn from biblical imagery. The new faith is Stalinism, but for Ćosić its power is akin to that of faith in Christ, as is reinforced by the titles of the volumes, the repetitive Cain/Abel metaphor, and the invocation of Abraham as the first father who had to sacrifice his son to a faith.36 To complete the Biblical symbolism, near the end of the trilogy, one of the “believers,” Petar Bajević, even requests that he be crucified by his Nazi captors, who are about to execute him (his request is granted).37 Cain and Abel become the pervasive guides through the lives of the Katićes: readers of Time of Evil are overwhelmed by constant references to “fratricide” (loosely defined as homicidal antagonism between members of a family, between loyal friends, or between members of fraternal peoples). Also omnipresent as a theme in the novel is an oppressive search for “truth.” The two axes of the novel, fratricide and truth, even become mingled regularly: for instance, early in The Sinner, Milena Katić (wife of Bogdan, sister of Ivan) finds herself between loyalties, loyalties that define the tension in Time of Evil: “I waver between brother and husband. Between truth and lies. My life-long illusion.”38 Later, when Vladimir, Milena and Bogdan’s son, condemns Ivan, Milena asks him, “is the party really above truth, above honor, above me, Vladimir!” He answers, “truth is on the side of the party, mama. And I will not waver between it and my uncle.”39 “Truth” and the party are a sacred coupling for Vladimir, who will abandon his family in their name. Ćosić drives his point home throughout the long trilogy. A policeman tells Bogdan Dragović that “a revolutionary dare not have a son. Because he will murder his father.”40 Ćosić reminds us that “Vladimir Dragović is not the first son who was betrayed by his father, nor will he be the first son who must forget his father the traitor.”41 Vukašin Katić, recognizing that he will be executed by the Germans in retaliation for Partisan attacks, decides that “he will not flee that punishment for his grandson’s battle. That is final human and civic duty: to pay with his head for his grandson’s error…”42

31So the “truth” is that communism served to introduce fratricide into Serbian society? Probably not. In Time of Evil, fratricide (and its kindred concepts: treason, betrayal) finds proponents of all ideological stripes as a defining characteristic of human existence. Willi Grass, a Nazi colonel, who interrogates Petar Bajević late in The Believer, asserts that

  • 43 Ćosić, Vernik, 498.

Treason is in our fate. Not only in our profession. You do not have to agree with me, because you are a follower of a hypocritical ideology. But, Mr. Bajević, it is my conviction that man is by nature a traitor. He betrays love, friends, ideas, God. Even Jesus Christ, on the cross, at one point doubted his father and was prepared to betray his faith. I personally believe that he asked Pontius Pilate to take him down from the cross, but the Roman was a true soldier and did not allow himself to be outplayed by some Jewish schismatic. That characteristic of treason is a fundamental trait of the Slavic race.43

  • 44 Ćosić, Otpadnik (Belgrade: Beogradski izdavačko-grafički zavod, 1986) 96.
  • 45 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 172.

32A member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, Sveta Rakić, also identifies fratricide as a deeper function of humanity: “Today with words, and tomorrow perhaps with bullets. As in the French revolution with the guillotines. The battle against one’s own must be more merciless than the battle against others…. What can be done here? It is something of a human law, good God! It is. Human history began with fratricide. Will we really, Bogdan, become Cains and murder our Abels?”44 Rakić answers his own question somewhat later: “Revolution is in its essence patricide. And I already… feared that fratricide would become incorporated into our ideology, that we could become Cains who will be obligated to murder our Abels….Today we kill for power. Yes, for power.”45 The confusing fact of the matter is that virtually all of the characters in Time of Evil speak of the eternal power of fratricide. Thus, rather than a peculiarly fratricidal ideology, communism leaves only the most modern in a long line of fratricidal imprints.

  • 46 Ćosić, Grešnik, 185.
  • 47 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 306.
  • 48 Ćosić, Vernik, 244.
  • 49 Ćosić, Grešnik, 47–48.
  • 50 Ćosić, Grešnik, 50.
  • 51 Ćosić, Grešnik, 136.

33Ćosić’s presentation is held together by the universal search for truth in which each character engages. All seek, but the reader gathers that only Vukašin and Ivan—both of whom question the wisdom of following the Comintern—speak with Ćosić’s voice. Ivan worries that socialism demands that its adherents ignore universal truths in favor of Stalin’s truth: “What will socialism be, Bogdan, if we sacrifice truth to it?…I can not accept a socialism in which truth is not its constitution, its law, its public word. All that man does, all that people think, work, and speak, must be reflected in the truth!”46 Later, the reader can only sympathize with Ivan as Bogdan explains Ivan’s failure to Vladimir: “Truth was more important [to him] than the future of the world, and personal liberty more pressing than revolution.”47 Vukašin claims to be a man who “never publicly supported a single thing in which he did not believe. And which was not the truth.”48 Ćosić establishes so completely the fact that Ivan and Vukašin deal only in the truth that the reader can only conclude that the pronouncements that he has them utter are to be taken as Ćosić’s truths. Thus, Europe becomes a place “in which prisons exist for people whose only guilt is that they were born Serbs and that they had to defend their pathetic liberty.”49 Austria-Hungary becomes the “personification of the planned degradation of man, executed in the name of the victorious German race, of a Catholic, proselytizing, European, anti-Slavic, and anti-Serbian ideology.”50 Serbs, predictably, become a people who “from Saint Sava onward have moved from one mistake to another.”51

34If Ćosić’s world view holds that men are by nature fratricidal, his novel is also informed by more specific grievances about the role that bolshevism has played in Serbia’s modern history. Most fundamentally, Time of Evil reminds modern Serbian readers that the universal explanation of the Communist International for Yugoslavia’s ills was the wicked Serbian bourgeoisie. On many occasions through the novel, the reader is subjected to abject affirmations that the Serbian middle class, and its dynasty, the Karadjordjevićes, deserve the majority of the blame for the inequities embodied in the first Yugoslavia. Bogdan Dragović, before the Comintern control commission in Moscow:

  • 52 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 93.

Since I have been a member of the Communist party, I have felt as a Serb responsible for all evils which the Great-Serbian bourgeoisie commits against the enslaved Yugoslav peoples. I was among the first Serbian communists who accepted the Comintern’s position on the destruction of Versailles Yugoslavia into soviet republics. I immediately pronounced myself on the position of comrade Stalin on the national question.52

  • 53 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 246.
  • 54 Ćosić, Grešnik, 324.

35“We know well,” he later concludes, “that Yugoslavia is the prison of peoples. The prison of the Great Serbian bourgeoisie.”53 Vladimir Dragović’s communist youth cell in Belgrade is treated to a visit by a higher functionary in the party who reminds them that the “governing Great Serbian clique, creating of Yugoslavia a prison of nations, carries out the most brutal theft and exploitation of the working class and poor strata.”54 There are also regular reminders that the Comintern merely followed a path first trod by Austria-Hungary. Vukašin Katić:

  • 55 Ćosić, Grešnik, 335.

Yugoslavia has become the misfortune of the Serbian and Croatian peoples. It has become the political damnation of this land. Yugoslavia is the revenge of the defeated Austria-Hungary on those who defeated it and its former subjects….From the grave, Austria-Hungary poisons the souls of Croats…it tortures us, sucks our blood like a vampire. And via the Comintern, it persecutes us. Communists think like Austro-Hungarians about Yugoslavia. They hate [Yugoslavia] with their hatred, destroy [Yugoslavia] with its anti-Serbian convictions.55

  • 56 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 27.
  • 57 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 28.
  • 58 Ćosić, Grešnik, 21.

36The truth about Time of Evil seems to be that it ultimately critiques Serbia’s exposure to outside ideas, the outside world. From Vukašin to Ivan to Vladimir, the Katićes expose themselves to more and more foreign notions. It is as though Ćosić has now given up on his own call (in Far Away is the Sun) for Serbs and Yugoslavs to join the modern, industrial, well-fed, and educated world, for that world has brought them only violence and betrayal. “We all flee from our Prerovos,”56 Vukašin tells his grandson Vladimir; Vukašin fled to Belgrade from his father Aćim, Ivan fled his own father’s Belgrade and Yugoslavia to study in Paris and become a communist, and Vladimir fled even further into the abstract future of the obedient bolshevik, leaving behind father, uncle, and grandfather in a search for a better world. But the wise Vukašin knows from experience that there is no better future: “… there is no happiness in liberty or in progress; there is only a different suffering….One does not live long on faith in the future, do you know that, Vladimir? The rain drains away our ideals. The best do not arrive at the goal, only the skilled and the cunning do…”57 Ultimately, great idealists seeking great change (people like Bogdan and Vladimir) can only bring suffering: “Small evils are done out of cupidity and by force of habit,” writes Ivan Katić in his memoir, “great evils are the works of faith and conviction. Only great idealists can do great evils without repentance: ideals liberate them from pangs of conscience.”58 The despair that pervades Time of Evil is the despair of the exhausted, who have suffered a century of evils rooted in ideologies promising change and progress.


37In 1988, Dobrica Ćosić once again introduced the work of Mića Popović to Serbia, this time under much more propitious circumstances. Mića Popović, Time, and Friends incorporated his notes from the 1974 exhibition catalog (which had been immediately withdrawn from circulation when the exhibition was closed down), but added commentary on Popović’s newer paintings as well as more complete mytho-biographies of the members of the Simina 9a collective.

  • 59 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 68.
  • 60 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 222.
  • 61 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 198.
  • 62 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 175. In an interview with the author on July 29, 2002, Ćosić dismissed “May 1 (...)
  • 63 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 198.

38Ćosić’s commentaries on various paintings were imaginative and instructive. They coordinated Popović’s view of Serbia’s fate with his own; the writer gave his imagination free rein. Several of them were put directly to use in the service of his own historical vision of Serbia. The sketchy Jevrem, for instance, gained detail in the retelling: “He is truly one of ours. And where is he squatting? Perhaps in a concrete basement of an apartment block, waiting for some powerful man from back home to find him work? Or is he in jail, because of something he did out of necessity…?”59 Even more detailed was the fate of the owner of the Rear End, who we could only now know was a “sufferer with the empty sack [who] does not relieve himself, because he has nothing to ‘relieve,’ tortured by dysentery, he ‘relieves’ only slimy blood…”60 With no blood or slime to be seen on the canvas, we know that Ćosić was framing this otherwise degrading enough painting for the disengaged. To the tortured Serbs of the past, Ćosić added the depressed Serbs of the present, as in Serbs in a Waiting Room, who “seem to be in some waiting room. Not for a train, not for a bus. Rather, historical. Or raz-historical [thus reviving his own neologism from A Fable]. But why do they still wait? The train left them for the future, it seems to me, long ago…”61 Finally, Ćosić did not like May 1, 1985. He believed that its mixing of metaphors, its recollection of the crucifixion of Christ on one hand and the impalement of the Christian by Muslims on the other, degraded this particular event, which should have stood “as a symbol of Albanian violence towards Serbs in the second half of the twentieth century, just as the gas chamber and crematorium became the symbol of Nazi German crimes against Jews and Slavs.” It also bothered him that Popović utilized universal (historical, Christian) symbols to express truths about the contemporary world. Ćosić seemed to think that Serbia’s fate deserved more than this painting had to offer, which was fundamentally derivative and hardly up to the task of portraying the depth of evil that had befallen Serbs. Nevertheless, for Ćosić, the painting offered evidence that Popović had “that consciousness and conscience that distinguished Francisco Goya, Eugene Delacroix, and Daumier.”62 But Popović’s Serbs became Ćosić’s Serbs, and no matter how much credit he gave the painter for his illustrious company, Ćosić could not resist tying these Serbs’ fate to his own. Who, he asked, “can today admire the Serbian nation for the fact that in war it defeated the great, but in peace was ruined by the weak? It’s all the same. I’ve been enthroned as a nationalist by those who usurped the inviolable right in our lives to enthrone, but only on hot, fetid, thrones, I am enthroned, thus, as a Serbian nationalist.”63

  • 64 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 129.

39As important as Ćosić’s cooptations of Popović’s paintings was the fact that this book would serve to make Simina 9a, if only for a few years, a signpost in the Serbian cultural and political renewal. It joins briefer versions of the same story from his 1974 catalog notes, from a book-length interview of Popović published in 1983, and from later autobiographical writings of Borislav Mihajlović Mihiz in the project of establishing the men of Simina 9a as role models for a new generation of Serbs. The qualities that Ćosić chose to emphasize were those that fit the times in Serbia. The men all exhibited the same traits in various forms: sincerity, profound intelligence, tolerance, devotion to their Serbian nation. Together they had grown old, no longer spoke of the past together. The single thing that still united them was that “the fate of Yugoslavia and the Serbian nation still tortures us…regarding Kosovo, we have grown mute.”64

  • 65 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 130.
  • 66 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 134. One example of his unpleasantness and his difficult nature is the fact t (...)
  • 67 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 134.
  • 68 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 134.
  • 69 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 135.
  • 70 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 137.
  • 71 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 134.
  • 72 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 137.

40Perhaps the most critical aspect of their collective personality was, according to Ćosić, their willingness to listen to other opinions—they remained, in other words, the tolerant “targomen” of Simina 9a, even forty years later. Mihiz, for instance, had an “unbelievable capacity for understanding his opponents and those who thought differently than him”; he was “always prepared for dialogue and to be corrected, prepared to act morally and honorably, of acute and strong judgment and a good and soft soul…”65 “Žika Stojković was “always sincere, which is to say unpleasant. A wise, faithful, precious, and difficult friend.”66 “…With every book, article, and speech I’ve written, I could not help but worry: what will Žika say? Because he will tell me exactly what he thinks, things no one else will say.”67 “In a society in which the lie is the truth, his love of truth becomes a vice.”68 Regarding Pavle Ivić: “if one opposes him with intolerance and hard-headedness, he will answer with tolerance and a gentle compromise.”69 Only Mihajlo Djurić, a legendary egomaniac, could not be included among the self-effacing and open-minded: “he was self-conscious, an egoist, often contemptuous of different opinions in our collective of free-thinkers. At that time, he never praised anyone.”70 But Djurić had other qualities that recommended him: along with Stojković, he was “the most uncompromising intellectual”;71 he was “a true stoic, of rigid morals and tending to moralizing, an incorruptible soul, he was the most active intellectual of our spiritual circle; more concentrated and active even than Mića Popović.”72

  • 73 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 130.
  • 74 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 135.
  • 75 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 35, 139.
  • 76 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 130.
  • 77 Author’s interview with Dobrica Ćosić, July 29, 2002.
  • 78 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 134.
  • 79 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 138.

41As important as their tolerance were their varied political beliefs. Ćosić, and Mihiz also, had always been proud of their diverse orientations. Mihiz, according to Ćosić, began adulthood as “a soft leftist,” becoming a “reflective conservative” later in life.73 Žika Stojković came in for the most interesting description—he was “by political conviction, an enlightened absolutist.”74 Bata Mihailović, who had in 1974 been described by Ćosić as a “fanatical communist” and vehemently objected to that characterization, became in 1988 a “leftist and nonconformist” who was “mostly on the same side” with Ćosić in “ideological discussions and arguments against our house ‘reaction’…”75 Conceding the obvious despite his own rejection of the term when applied to himself, Ćosić allowed that Mihiz was “a nationalist without any hatred, and a soulful and cultural cosmopolitan.”76 On many occasions Ćosić described Popović’s nationalism in the same terms—nationalist, loved his people, but he was no chauvinist.77 Regarding Stojković, he said that he did “not know a contemporary who could more convincingly worry the national and social worries, who could suffer the people’s defeats and misfortunes longer.”78 But then there was Djurić, who Ćosić believed was wrongly labeled a nationalist in 1971, when he “laid out his opinion that that constitution placed Serbia and the Serbian nation in an unequal position with the other nations and would lead to its and Yugoslavia’s disintegration. For this brave truth he got a year of prison.”79

  • 80 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 144.
  • 81 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 144.

42The importance of the work of Ćosić and Popović in the 1990s is straightforward. Here they finally openly claimed their place among the seers of modern Serbia. Here what had been implicit until then became open. They staked their claim to the revelatory role in reconceptualizing Serbian identity. What would they do in practice? How would they do it? As always, Ćosić was the more open and loquacious of the two, even as he proved either unwilling or incapable of enunciating a clear set of objectives. If we were to believe him, the revelation would be enough. Ćosić wouldn’t have been Ćosić had he not engaged (in the third person) in a little mythmaking on his own account (in spite of his insistence that “nobody has to believe this, but he truly has no internal need to speak about himself.”).80 His primary purpose was to establish the limitations of his self-appointed task: “He does not wish to call into question a single contemporary lie or misapprehension about himself, nor to confirm their truth and conviction.” And, as would be the case to the bitter end, he argued that his role was to speak a little “meaningful” truth; in this case, insisting that “If he has done something good in his literary and public life, if he came to understand and speak any meaningful truth…in good measure that is thanks to those who loved that truth and to his friends.”81 What remains is to determine what he and the others actually did, when they were not the subjects of Ćosić’s nostalgic imagination.


1 Dobrica Ćosić, “Pisac u istorijskom paklu,” Književne novine (November 1, 1987) 5.

2 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 237.

3 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 237.

4 Mića Popović, Velika ljubav Anice Huber (Belgrade: Triptih, 1999).

5 Popović, Velika ljubav, 11.

6 Popović, Velika ljubav, 12.

7 Popović, Velika ljubav, 71.

8 Popović, Velika ljubav, 24.

9 Popović, Velika ljubav, 43–44.

10 Popović, Velika ljubav, 86.

11 Popović, Velika ljubav, 21–22.

12 Popović, Velika ljubav, 82–83.

13 Popović, Velika ljubav, 103.

14 Popović, Velika ljubav, 29.

15 Popović, Velika ljubav, 75.

16 Popović, Velika ljubav, 140.

17 Popović, Velika ljubav, 142.

18 V. Milivojević, “Osvešćivanje uspavanog naroda,” in Glas javnosti (Belgrade) March 15, 2000; M.F., Kratak kurs istorije KPJ,” in Danas (Belgrade) November 6, 1999.

19 Predrag Palavestra, Književnost: Kritika ideologije (Belgrade: Srpska književna zadruga, 1991) 347.

20 This painting was once thought to be a rendering of the martyrdom of St. Bartholomew; Popović was under that impression as he painted “May 1, 1985.” See Michael Scholz-Hansel, Jusepe de Ribera, 1591–1652 (Cologne: Konemann, 2000) 9.

21 Gligorijević, Odgovor, 32.

22 Mića Popović, “Umetničko delo kao poslednja odbrana jednog naroda,” in Glas (Belgrade: Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti, odeljenje likovne i musičke umetnosti) v. 356, no. 4, (1988) 19.

23 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 23.

24 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 23.

25 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 22.

26 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 25.

27 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 19.

28 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 19.

29 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 22, as translated in Popović and Klunker, Mića Popović, 106.

30 Popović, “Umetničko delo, 24.

31 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 24, as translated in Popović and Klunker, Mića Popović, 110.

32 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 27, as translated in Popović and Klunker, Mića Popović, 128.

33 Popović, “Umetničko delo,” 21, 22.

34 Dobrica Ćosić, Grešnik (Belgrade: Beogradski izdavačko-grafički zavod, 1985) 119.

35 Ćosić, Grešnik, 22.

36 Dobrica Ćosić, Vernik (Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1991) 68–69.

37 Ćosić, Vernik, 556–57.

38 Ćosić, Grešnik, 37.

39 Ćosić, Grešnik, 39.

40 Ćosić, Vernik, 41.

41 Ćosić, Vernik, 307.

42 Ćosić, Vernik, 394.

43 Ćosić, Vernik, 498.

44 Ćosić, Otpadnik (Belgrade: Beogradski izdavačko-grafički zavod, 1986) 96.

45 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 172.

46 Ćosić, Grešnik, 185.

47 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 306.

48 Ćosić, Vernik, 244.

49 Ćosić, Grešnik, 47–48.

50 Ćosić, Grešnik, 50.

51 Ćosić, Grešnik, 136.

52 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 93.

53 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 246.

54 Ćosić, Grešnik, 324.

55 Ćosić, Grešnik, 335.

56 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 27.

57 Ćosić, Otpadnik, 28.

58 Ćosić, Grešnik, 21.

59 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 68.

60 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 222.

61 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 198.

62 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 175. In an interview with the author on July 29, 2002, Ćosić dismissed “May 1, 1985” as one of Popović’s worst paintings, a product of anger rather than contemplation.

63 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 198.

64 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 129.

65 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 130.

66 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 134. One example of his unpleasantness and his difficult nature is the fact that it was Stojković who demanded that Ćosić delete all references to him in his first, 1974, notes to the Popović exhibition.

67 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 134.

68 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 134.

69 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 135.

70 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 137.

71 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 134.

72 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 137.

73 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 130.

74 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 135.

75 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 35, 139.

76 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 130.

77 Author’s interview with Dobrica Ćosić, July 29, 2002.

78 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 134.

79 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 138.

80 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 144.

81 Ćosić, Mića Popović, 144.

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