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Introduction

This exhibit is a celebration of Serbian authors.  It summarizes six periods from medieval to post-modern, i.e 1940.  During these times, writers defined and shaped thoughts, mentality habits, customs, humor or tragedy.  Some of them spoke about the love of God, villages and rural people, while others about cities and the middle class.   Some of the authors were more educated and some less, but most were teachers.   A few authors went further and became diplomats such as Jovan Ducic and Branislav Nusic.  In a broader sense, Dositej Obradovic and Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic represented a class of Serbian people abroad whose dedication to their country was known in the academic and research world.  They associated with individuals and distinctive literary societies.

The beginning of Serbian literature starts early.  During the formation of the first Serbian state, a medieval Raska, and illuminated manuscript appeared, a unique Gospel Book - "Miroslav's Gospel" by Gligorije the Djak in 1185-92.   He scribed and illuminated it with the originality of a poet making it a beautiful piece of art and a document of literature, known as such in medieval Europe.   Followed by his contemporaries, also original writers, Raska Nemanjic, known as St. Sava, or the monks, Princess Milica, nun Jefimija, Prince Stefan Lazarevic, and other known and unknown writers, the medieval art of illumination and scribing as well as poetry writing went on even through the period of Turkish oppression.  Stefan Lazarevic, also known for establishing a Resava school.  The Resava monastery became a cultural centre aiming to produce books in an accurate Serbian language and to expand cultural interest.

After these two Medieval periods Rationalism took place in the late 17th and early 18th century (1783-1811).  This movement was under the influence of Russian literature as well as Austrian, then known as Josephinism.  Orfelin, Dositej Obradovic are the best representatives along with whom a playwrighter Jovan Sterija Popovic became popular with his talent for comedy.  As in the earlier period, a woman poetess appeared on the Serbian scene Milica Stojadinovic-Srpkinja, who was known by dealing with the subject of dreams.

A transition between old and new periods marks Petar Petrovic Njegos, a bishop and a ruler of Montenegro.  His most outstanding philosophical and epic novel is the "Mountain Wreath", an epopee of the struggle for survival through the wild intrusion on Serbian existence.  His wisdom is deeply embedded into the Montenegrian, i.e., or Serbian patriotic attitude.

Romanticism (1848-1870) starts with the work of Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic.  A patient collector of folk poetry, stories and popular produced first Serbian dictionary, he introduced this genuine source to the  Serbian authors.   The writers started to build their ideas and themes upon those sources.  The best known representatives for such an approach to literature were: Branko Radicevic, Jovan Jovanovic-Zmaj, Djura Jaksic also a known painter and Bohemian; then, Laza Kostic, Kosta Trifkovic and others.

The succeeding movement was Realism (1870-1900).  A needed shift from describing the world of feelings to facts of reality, resulted in a birth of a new literal form - a short story.  Writers as Milovan Glisic, Laza Lazarevic, Jakov Ignjatovic, Janko Veselinovic, Simo Matavulj, Stevan Sremac, Radoje Domanovic, Svetozar Corovic, Branislav Nusic, Svetozar Markovic or poets like Vojislav Ilic, Aleksa Santic dominated that era.

The Post Modern period (1900-1940) begins during the formation of the democratic modern new state, a Kingdom of Serbia and after WWI, Kingdom of Yugoslavia.   A burst of talented poets Jovan Ducic, Milan Rakic, Veljko Petrovic, Danica Markovic, Sima Pandurovic as well as novelists Borislav Stankovic, Petar Kocic or Isidora Sekulic contributed to the recognition of quality writing in Serbian literature.   Also, objective criticism as the new development in literature appeared with Bogdan Popovic and particularly with Jovan Skerlic who as critics seriously worked on determining the boundaries of merits in writing.

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