ANTE KADIĆ, Croatian Reader with Vocabulary. Berkeley: University of California Syllabus Series No. 361, 1957. V+212 pp., $2.50.
This mimeographed syllabus of Croatian prose and poetry prepared by Professor Ante Kadić, who is teaching in the Slavic Department of the University of California in Berkeley, represents many years of work and experience with teaching the Croatian language at a college level. We readily agree with the author that there was an urgent need for such a reader.
The book is divided into four parts: The first one contains material taken mostly from Croatian folk creations. The second part presents excerpts from different Croatian. writers, beginning with the most recent writers and concluding with those who wrote around the turn of this century.
The third part offers a "selection of modern Croatian poetry: Communist poetry of present-day Yugoslavia and the best poetry of the Croatian emigration". The fourth part of the reader presents selections illustrating the two main dialects, the Ča and the Kaj.
At the end of the reader there is an extensive Croatian-English vocabulary pertaining to the pages in the Selections. After every work there is an explanation, either about the work, or about the most unusual idioms. In certain cases, more explanation was essential, The book also has an Index, unfortunately not an Alphabetical but a chronological one which seems to be a great handicap of this work:
The compiler writes in the Preface: "I had a two-fold ambition: to provide my students with a simple reading textbook and at the same time to give them a representative anthology of literature." No two people have exactly the same taste in literature, and it is no doubt the privilege of the editor to present his own choice, but I, for one, would question that his selections are "representative".
In the second part, the prose "between the two wars and during the World War II" is scarcely represented while the post World War II authors are disproportionately represented. It is hard, for example, to imagine such an anthology of prose without a few pages of Mile Budak, Ante Bonifačić or Alija Nametak. One can hardly go along with Professor Kadić's view that "it was unwise to go further back (and include, for example, Croatian realists or romanticists) because Croatian prose of the nineteenth century, generally speaking, is very difficult for the foreign reader to understand." Quite to the contrary. Is Miroslav Krleža's prose easier than that of Šenoa? Is Ivo Vojnović less difficult than Vjenceslav Novak?
The same criticism applies to the third part, namely the "selection of modern poetry". Here we are missing names like Dragutin Domjanić, Djuro Sudeta, Ivo Lendić,. Fran Alfirević, A, B, Šimić, Olinko Delorko, Vladislav Kušan, Sida Košutić, Lucijan Kordić etc. If the goal was to present fully the newest Croatian prose and poetry, one wonders why Professor Kadić was unable to find more material in Hrvatska Revija; which is still the most representative Croatian literary publication although it appears in Buenos Aires rather than in Zagreb. Also several books of prose and poetry have been published by Croatian emigrant writers, some of whom were considered great writers in the period between the "two wars".
It would be desirable that this syllabus be sometime published as a printed book. We indeed agree with the author that this anthology was necessary, and we hope that some more will be compiled, particularly about the authors and periods not covered in this anthology. Professor Kadić has started the way.