Protonism, the epicenter of this book, is a theory coined by Gjeke Marinaj to denote a recommended method for the practice of literary criticism. A protonist critic, when confronted with a text, seeks first what is of aesthetic, intellectual and moral value in the work, on its own terms. If the critic finds little value in the work, the critic should simply set it aside and forbear to discuss it at all - leaving it in obscurity - rather than making a display of contemptuous rhetoric.

The concept has immediate relevance in the Balkan context, in which literary criticism has often become a political, sectarian, or ideological weapon, to the detriment of literature. But it can also apply to critical practice and theory in other parts of the world and in artistic work. The term itself is a metaphor drawn from the physics of the atom: Instead of dwelling upon the volatile, lightweight and negative electron, the protonist critic attends to the enduring, weighty, and positive proton. Protonism Theory comprises five central principles: truth, inquiry, restitution, protonismiotics, and ethics.