Davičo, Oscar

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DAVIČO, OSCAR (1909–1989), Yugoslav poet and novelist. Born in Šabac, Serbia, Davičo was a high-school teacher but in 1932 was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for Communist activities. During World War ii, he fought with the Yugoslav partisans against the Nazis. Before the war Davičo had been prominent in Belgrade as a surrealist writer and two of his early works were collections of verse, Anatomija (1930) and Pesme (1938). Davičo's postwar verse collections, notable for their nonconformism, their fantasy, and their erudite metaphors, include Hana (1951), Čovekov čovek ("A Man's Man," 1953), and Trg eM ("Square m," 1968). Although Davičo's rare references to his Jewish origin were made with a certain pride, his works displayed an increasingly anti-Zionist and anti-Israel bias. With Pesma (1952; The Poem, 1959), he published the first of a series of novels about the Nazi occupation, his own prison experiences, and his country's era of reconstruction. The later ones were Beton i svici ("Concrete and Glow-worms," 1956), Ćutnje ("Silences," 1963), Gladi ("Hunger," 1963), Tajne ("Secrets," 1964), and Begstva ("Escapes," 1966). His novel Gospodar zaborava ("Master of Forgetfulness") appeared in 1980. Three of his novels were awarded Yugoslavia's highest literary prize. Davičo translated Thomas *Mann's novel Buddenbrooks into Serbo-Croat, and some of his own works have been translated into English and other languages. He was one of the editors of the literary periodical Delo. He also wrote a number of poems and other lyric compositions.


Z. Gavrilovič, in: Savremenik (1956); Lexikon der Weltliteratur im 20. Jahrhundert (1960), 409; Finci, in: Enciklopedija Jugoslavije, 2 (1961), 668f.; M. Djilas, Susreti, 1 (1953), 128–32. add. bibliography: P. Palavestra, Jevrejski pisci u srpskoj knjizevnosti (1998); D. Katan Ben-zion, Presence and Disappearance – Jews and Judaism in Former Yugoslavia in the Mirror of Literature (2002), 261–66, 344–45 (Heb.).

[Zdenko Lowenthal]

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