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An attempt at defining "minority" literature: A case study in the literary production of the Italian minority in Slovenia and Croatia and of the Slovenian minority in Italy

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Jadranka Cergol
Jadranka Cergol


The article problematizes the use of the term “minority” literature in the literary context. The term was proposed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari who defined minor/minority literature as literature that a minority constructed within a major language (and not literature written in a minor language). According to them, minor literature was characterized by a high level of the deterritorialization of language, a link between the individual and the topical political situations and thirdly by a the collective value. This definition proves to be too narrow and applicable only to a part of this literature and not to its entire corpus. The aim of the article is therefore to provide a new definition of “minority literature” by taking into account literature written by Slovenes living in Italy and literature written by Italians living in Slovenia and Croatia. As for the typological elements characteristic of literature written on the both sides of the Slovenian-Italian border, the article points out that the two literary systems are marked by the ontological dimension, interculturalism as an ethic value, pronounced national, linguistic and spatial elements, and historical memory. The article even goes a step forward and poses the question whether “minority literature” could be regarded as a completely independent supranational literary system.

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