Miroslav Krleža (1893-1981) was one of the leading Croatian writers of the 20th century, a central figure in modern Croatian literature. His oeuvre contains as well poetry as novels, essays, short stories, and drama.
Krleža was born in Zagreb. He published his first poems and plays before WWI.The war had shattered his illusions – his embittered prose and poetry reflected his strong anti-war feelings. Krleža opposed the monarchist regime of Yugoslavia and founded in 1919 Plamen, a left-wing review. Deeply impressed by the Soviet revolution he became attracted to Marxist ideas, but not dogmatically. Krleža a was a member of the Communist Party from 1918 until 1939, when he was expelled, after publishing Dijalekticki antibarbarus (1939), in which he mocked the orthodox Stalinists. Izlet u Rusiju (Voyage to Russia, 1926) was Krleža’s account of his visit to the USSR. In the 1950s, Krleža’s published two books of memoirs, Djetinjstvo u Agramu (1952) and Davni dani (1956).
Krleža’s importance as a leader of the socially oriented writers grew steadily between the two world wars. Krleža produced most of his best work during the period from the late 1920s to the mid-1930s.
Krleža supported Croatian national and cultural claims and recorded his sceptical views on democratic progress in the Balkans in Razgovori s Miroslavom Krlezom (1969). He wrote with enormous creative energy, and defended his views fiercely and fearlessly.
“Whether human folly is the work of God or not, it does not diminish in practice,” he wrote in On the Edge of Reason (1938). “Centuries often elapse before one human folly gives place to another, but, like the light of an extinguished star, folly has never failed to reach its destination. The mission of folly, to all appearances, is universal.”