The Banquet in Blitva

Krleza's epic condemnation of hypocrisy and totalitarianism in pre - World War II Europe; Miroslav Krleza is considered one of the most important Central European authors of the twentieth century. In his career as a poet, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, essayist, journalist, and travel writer he wrote over fifty books. He also suffered condemnation - as a leftist and a practitioner of modernism - and saw his books proscribed in the late 1930s. The first two books of the trilogy The Banquet in Blitva were written in the thirties to comment on political, psychological, artistic, and ethical issues. Such commentary had already earned him the enmity of Yugoslavia's increasingly fascistic government. He wrote and published the third book, together with the previous two, in 1962. Colonel Kristian Barutanski, lord of the mythical Baltic nation of Blitva, has freed his country from foreign oppression and now governs with an iron fist. He is opposed by Niels Nielsen, a melancholy intellectual who hurls invective at the dictator and at the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of society. Barutanski himself despises the sycophants beneath him and recognizes in Nielsen a genuine foe; yet Nielsen, haunted by his own lapses of conscience, struggles to escape both the regime and the role of opposition leader that is thrust upon him. In the end he flees to the neighboring state of Blatvia - and finds his new country as corrupt and as oppressive as the one he previously called home.