Zagreb Childhood in the Sixties
Sanja Lovrenčić wrote the book of prose fragments entitled Zagreb Childhood in the Sixties while she was working on the translation of Walter Benjamin’s autobiographical Berlin Childhood around 1900,and her writing is therefore marked by an interesting duality. Zagreb Childhood functions as an autobiographical discourse and deals with the elements typical for that genre: introspection, sketches of the chosen period, a fine nostalgia for childhood, which an adult can reach only as a selection of fragments that can never be made into a coherent whole; those elements could be labelled as personal and local. On the other hand, however, the book is a response to a literary text, a reaction not to a childhood or a social change, but to a certain type of writing. This leads to a completely different set of ideas, that we might call inherently literary – intertextuality, the fictionalization of the self, the use of poetic language and lyrical fragments that simultaneously connote and transcend personal experience. Thus Zagreb Childhood combines two elements that are necessary to make a quality literature: inclusion in the local context, as well as its constant dissolution – both intimacy and universality.