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Islands Historical Context

Aleksandar Hemon
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Bosnia-Herzegovina

Given the autobiographical nature of Hemon's short story collection, and based on details from the story, "Islands" is likely set in the 1970s, a decade of relative prosperity in what is in 2005 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Hemon wrote the story in the 1990s, having recently emigrated from Bosnia to the United States. In order to understand the history of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1970s and the 1990s, however, it is necessary to have some knowledge of its long and turbulent history.

Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of the six major Balkan states that comprised the former Yugoslavia. It has many of its cultural roots in the Islamic tradition, because of the Ottoman Turkish domination between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries. By 1908, however, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had officially annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina and attempted to use it as a buffer between the largely Catholic Croatia and the largely Eastern Orthodox Serbia. Ethnic tensions ran high throughout...

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This section contains 597 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Islands Study Guide
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Islands from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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