Aleš Debeljak

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Aleš Debeljak
Born (1961-12-25)December 25, 1961
Ljubljana, Slovenia, Yugoslavia
Occupation Poet, Essayist, Academic
Genre essays, poetry, cultural studies
Literary movement Postmodernism
Spouse Erica Johnson Debeljak

Aleš Debeljak (born December 25, 1961), is a Slovenian cultural critic, poet, and essayist.


Debeljak was born in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He graduated from comparative literature at the University of Ljubljana in 1985.[1] He continued his studies in the United States, obtaining a PhD in sociology of culture at Syracuse University in 1989.[1] He was later a Senior Fulbright fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He also worked at the Institute for Advanced Studies Collegium Budapest, the Civitella Ranieri Center and the Bogliasco Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanitites.[2]

Since the mid-1980s, Debeljak has taken an active part in civil society movements.[3] He has been one of the co-editors of the critical alternative journal Nova revija. He has also participated in the social liberal think tank Forum 21, led by the former President of Slovenia Milan Kučan.

He is currently a professor of cultural studies at the Faculty for Social Studies of the University of Ljubljana.

He is married to the columnist, translator and American-Slovenian writer[4] Erica Johnson Debeljak. They have three children and live in Ljubljana.

Poetic works[edit]

Debeljak began publishing poetry in his college years. He was spotted by the poet Veno Taufer who helped him in the literary scene.[1] His first collection of poetry was very well received also by the poet Tomaž Šalamun, who declared Debeljak as the best poet of the young generation of Slovene authors.[5]

Debeljak's poetry is noted for its melancholy and a new reaffirmation of traditional values such as family and God. An opponent to the everything-goes schools of modern thought, such as Post-Modernism, Debeljak's work is informed by an "Enlightenment" ideal of right and wrong, good and bad.[citation needed]

Debeljak is an extremely prolific writer. Besides poetry and cultural criticism, Debeljak has also worked as a columnist for the most important newspaper in Slovenia, Delo.

His works have been translated in many languages, including English, German, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Czech, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Rumanian, Slovak, Finnish, and Catalan (by Simona Škrabec).

List of works[edit]

Works published or translated in English:

  • The Hidden Handshake: National Identity and Europe in The Post Communist World (Rowman & Littlefield, New York & Oxford 2004).
  • Reluctant Modernity: The Institution of Art and its Historical Forms (Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham & New York 1998).
  • Twilight of the Idols: Recollections of a Lost Yugoslavia (Wite Pine Press, Fredonia & New York 1994).
  • Persistence of Modernity: Critical Social Theory of Modern vs. Postmodern Institution of Art (UMI, Ann Arbor, 1994).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]