The project ‘Slovenian Writers and Imperial Censorship in the Long Nineteenth Century’ aims to examine an under-researched topic that has yet to receive systematic scholarly attention. Instead of partial descriptions, this project will offer an insight into the concealed yet constitutive nature of censorship practices by carrying out the first systematic survey of the period, which will include new primary sources, and framing the various detailed case studies with a new conceptualization of the modern institution of censorship. Rather than continue to apply the term ‘censorship’ to highly heterogeneous practices, the project proposes a more unified concept of censorship, which then allows for insight into actual relatively specific areas of its legal regulation and implementation. In the literature of the period, these areas are periodicals, book publishing and theatre.

The spatial scope is limited to the Slovenian lands within the Habsburg monarchy (especially Carniola, but also Carinthia and Styria); this Slovenian situation is then broadened by the imperial context and the context of neighbouring literary cultures (German, Czech, Croatian, Hungarian). The temporal scope is the ‘long nineteenth century’, the period between 1789–1914, which the revolutionary year of 1848 divides almost symmetrically into two phases: the phase dominated by preventive (or pre-publication) censorship, and the phase determined mostly by retroactive (or post-publication) censorship.

The project aims to utilise the panoramic view of the longue durée, whose long temporal scope itself will also encourage theoretical and methodological reflection. The focus will be on censorship in the narrow sense of institutionalised forms of control over the circulation of texts, the essential dimension of which is the capacity to sanction (implemented by the repressive apparatus of the state). This will provide a firm vantage point for investigations into less institutionalised restrictions, such as self-censorship, indirect sanctions, market forces, discrimination against sexual and other minorities,and other forms of censorship in the broader sense.

The project will comprise both general (synthetic) investigations and a set of carefully selected case studies covering the entire period, all literary media and genres and all key problem areas of the proposed project. The focus will be on the implementation of censorship practices; their impact on Slovenian books, newspapers and theatre; their role in the development of the Slovenian national movement; the recorded strategies for evading censorship; the changes in censorship’s social functions; and the impact of gender censorship, which remains an unexplored area of Slovenian literary history.

Project manager at ZRC

Funded by

Slovenian Research Agency

Fields of research

General and comparative literature, literary criticism, literary theory H390