The Department of Literature, which includes the Institute for the History of Croatian Literature, Theater and Music, has been simultaneously studying and publishing Croatian literature from its beginning to the present. Full members of the department are the most distinguished writers, theoreticians, and historians of literature. The department contributes regularly to the series Rad (Monographs) with works ranging from the study and critical presentation of the earliest literature to the promotion of modern literature. It is by no means a rare occurrence for unknown manuscripts from all periods to be published in this series.
The literary monthly Forum has a similar role, but with a shift of focus to modern literature, so that it also publishes the works of young, promising and interesting writers.
Furthermore, for two decades now the department has organized an annual symposium entitled Dani Hvarskoga kazališta (Hvar Theater Days). The proceedings from these symposia, which the department has subsequently published, discuss Croatian poetic, dramatic, and prose achievements from the earliest times to the present, and thus encompass various literary phenomena and the most distinguished personalities. In addition, the department publishes historical, theoretical, essayistic and critical works on comparatively recent writers (the nineteenth and the twentieth century); initiates discussions on the position of literature in society, points out the “blank spaces” in the history of Croatian culture, especially those in the history of literature. The Institute for the History of Croatian Literature, Theater, and Music publishes critical editions of works by Croatian writers, collects and publishes various documents on literature and theater in the Republic of Croatia, and is laying the groundwork for the establishment of a theatrical museum. From time to time, the institute publishes a scientific publication, Kronika (Chronicle), which is now in its twenty-fourth year of existence.
The membership of the department has been especially honored by those writers and historians of literature whose works constitute an inalienable part of Croatian literary and cultural heritage: Miroslav Krleža, Vladimir Nazor, Antun Barac, Gustav Krklec, Dobriša Cesarić, Dragutin Tadijanović, Vjekoslav Kaleb, Petar Šegedin, Ranko Marinković, Marijan Matković, Jure Kaštelan, Mirko Božić, Matko Peić, Vesna Parun, Slobodan Novak, Ivo Frangeš, Aleksandar Flaker, Miroslav Šicel, Slavko Mihalić, Vlatko Pavletić, Ivan Slamnig, Antun Šoljan, Nedjeljko Fabrio, Mirko Tomasović, Nikola Batušić, Ante Stamać, Jakša Fiamengo i Dubravko Jelčić. Corresponding members of the Department were also Nobel laureates Ivo Andrić and Czeslaw Milosz.