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Ljubomir Nedić (1858–1902) was a popular Serbian writer, philosopher, and literary critic. In the 1890s, two groups were formed in literary criticism, one by the critics gathered around the literary journal Delo, and the other led by Ljubomir Nedić. He was the first to apply aesthetic criteria to literature in his theoretical and critical contributions to the periodical Srpski pregled, the Serbian Review.
Ljubomir Nedić was born in Belgrade, Serbia, on the 24th of April 1858. His philosophical work was neglected by the historians of Serbian philosophy from the moment the Nazi occupied the country in 1941 and suppressed after the end of World War II by the communists who took power. It wasn't until the break-up of Communist Yugoslavia in 1990s did an interest in his work re-kindle.
Nedić was educated chiefly in Belgrade, Jena and Leipzig where he studied medicine, attending lectures on anatomy and psychology and visiting hospitals. After some contemplation he abandoned medecine in favour of philosophy, logic and psychology. Ljubomir Nedić was a student of the world-renowned Wilhelm Wundt, "the father of experimental psychology". Nedić's doctoral thesis, defended in 1884, was on contemporary British logic, primarily that of Sir William Hamilton. In 1885 he was made a doctor of philosophy at the University of Leipzig in recognition of Die Lehre von der Quantification des Pradikats in der neuern englische Logik (The Doctrine Concerning the Quantified Predicate in Recent English Philosophy) his year-long research paper written in London. After ten years spent abroad studying at Jena, Leipzig and London universities, he completed his doctorate under Wundt, and obtained a professorship at Belgrade's Grande École (Velika Škola), where he acquired great influence by the dignity of his personal character. In Belgrade in 1889 he wrote and published O sofizmima (On Sophisms)., which brought him more recognition. During the following years he published works on Plato and Socrates, as well as a history of philosophy. The strain of the 14 years of continuous work undermined his health and he was compelled to retire from his professorship at the Grande École (which became accredited as the University of Belgrade in 1905) in 1899. After his retirement he further developed his philosophical position, a speculative eclecticism through which he endeavoured to reconcile metaphysical idealism with the naturalistic and mechanical standpoint of science. In 1890, two groups were formed in literary criticism: one led by Nedić, and the other by the critics gathered around the literary journal Delo. Nedić was the first to apply in the 1890s aesthetic criteria to literature in his theoretical and critical contributions to the periodical Srpski pregled, of which he was the editor.
In 1901 Nedić published his second book "Noviji srpski pisci", as an introduction included the chapter "O književnoi kritiki". By then, he was already established as a Serbian new literary critic.
Ljubomir Nedić's significance in the history of Serbian thought depends on his position as the philosopher of the great scientific movement of the second half of the nineteenth century, and of the friendship and admiration with which he was regarded by Wundt, and all of his contemporaries, disciples of Hamilton, and Spencer. Nedić was also influenced by the philosophical writings of Eufrosin Poteca.
His part in philosophy and logic was that of a historian and commentator, for which he was especially qualified by his clarity of exposition; his point of view is one of the main Hegelian traits. Moreover, a synthetist who believes and practices synthetic methods or principles.
His Die Lehre von der Quintification des Pradikats in der neueren englische Logik (Leipzig, 1885) is perhaps the most accredited modern work of its kind before the start of the 20th century. He made valuable contributions to the study of modern literary criticism, along with Svetozar Marković, Jovan Skerlić, Bogdan Popović, Pavle Popović, Slobodan Jovanović, and Branko Lazarević. His work was quoted in Johann Eduard Erdmann's Logic and Methaphysics (1892) and Wilhelm Wundt's Textbook of Logic (1893) even before the start of the 20th century. He died at Belgrade on the 29th of July 1902.
The last years of his life were devoted chiefly as a literary critic. He aimed sharp criticism at the utiliterian theory of art espoused by the late Svetozar Marković, who accentuated the social role of literature in Realism. Quite the opposite, Nedić empasized the aesthetic side of the lyric poem, using Vojislav Ilić's work as examples. In 1893 he founded and edited Srpski pregled, a literary review, for which he also acted as a literary and dramatic critic, and the influence of his individuality soon made itself noticed. His books in literary criticism are still being reprinted, Iz novije srpske lirike (1893), Noviji srpski pisci (1901), and Kritičke studije (1910).
- 20th Century Serbian Literature
- Jovan Skerlić, Istorija Nove Srpske Književnosti (Belgrade, 1914, 1921), pages 433-436.