Blood feud through the historical imagination of Ismail Kadare

An analysis of Broken April




Blood feud, Conflict management, Ismail Kadare, law and literature, la longue durée, deuda de sangre, gestión de conflictos, derecho y literatura


This paper explores the practice of the blood feud refracted through the prism of Ismail Kadare’s Broken April (1978), which is set in early 20th century Albania. Analysis of emerging themes reveals some important insights for Law and Literature. We examine the relationship of the blood feud with a number of themes, which fall under the structural headings of socio-political conditions, social ethos and values, and mechanisms of conflict management. Situating the author’s agenda within a perspective of historical imagination, between history and epic, past and present, suggests the perspective of la longue durée in relation to customary laws and feuding. That insight in turn prompts reflections about the survival and continuation of blood feuding as a form of life in contemporary societies.


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Author Biographies

Brunilda Pali, Leuven Institute of Criminology

Brunilda Pali

Senior Researcher

Leuven Institute of Criminology

Hooverplein 10

3000 Leuven



Robert E. Mackay, Restorative Justice for All International Institute

Robert E. Mackay

Restorative Justice for All International Institute

14 Dock Offices

Surrey Quays Road

London, SE16 2XU, UK



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10-09-2021 — Updated on 22-12-2021

How to Cite

Pali, B. and Mackay, R. E. (2021) “Blood feud through the historical imagination of Ismail Kadare: An analysis of Broken April”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 11(6(S), pp. S164-S186. doi: 10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1215.