Mesa Selimovic (1910 - 1982), the Serbian writer of Bosnian descent, is best known as an author of such excellent novels as 'Dervis i smrt' (1966) and 'Tvrdava' (1970). However, his writings developed into two separate directions: into the fictional and critically-essayistic direction, the latter being very much underestimated. Selimovic issued three essayistic books: 'Eseji i ogledi' (1966), 'Za i protiv Vuka' (1967) and 'Pisci, misljenja i razgovori' (1979). The essayistic work of this author may be divided into two thematic groups: texts concentrating on the discussion of the particular writers and phenomena in the contemporary literature and texts devoted to the subject of the so called, 'war for language and literature'. This article is concerned with the critical-literary works written in a traditional way, with the use of the historical-biographic and genetic methods. According to Mesa Selimovic, the main aim of the literary criticism is active participation in the contemporary literary life as well as setting lines of its development. He wrote, among others, about the creative art of Hamza Humo, Zvonimir Subic, Stevan Sremac, Milan Bogdanovic, Ivo Andric, Jovan Ducic, August Cesarec and others. Selimovic did not limit his interests only to Serbian literature - he also wrote about Bosnian, Slovenian and Croatian authors, which correlated with his opinion on the necessity to bring the cultures of the inhabitants of Yugoslavia together. What is characteristic of Selimovic, he did not promote new authors, but rather tried to reinterpret both the old and contemporary literary works by putting them in the wide cultural context. Right after the Second World War, Selimovic propagated socialistic realism; however, later he gradually became more concerned with the aesthetic values of the discussed work. Although he changed the criteria of evaluation of the literary work, he still remained the supporter of the literature of engagement ( following J. P. Sartre's theory). Referring to the works of the particular authors, Selimovic in his critical-literary essays indirectly presented his views on the function and possibilities of literature.