The editors of this unique Croatian renaissance reader, Grubišić and Bubrin, have underlined the enduring heritage, literary history value and spiritual profundity of Croatian literature over past centuries. Their brilliant treatment of the material endeavours to ease the understanding of these critical works of Croatian literature for the modern reader.
A promotional event was staged at the Zagreb headquarters of the Croatian Heritage Foundation on the 16th of July featuring The Glory and Fame / Dike ter hvaljen’ja, a Croatian renaissance literature reader edited by Vladimir Bubrin DSc and Vinko Grubišić DSc. It should be noted, related to this topic, that it was in fact Grubišić and Bubrin who won the Davidias 2012 Croatian Book Days Prize for the Croatian Renaissance Poetry and Croatian Renaissance Plays anthologies, published in the Journal of Croatian Studies XLIV-XLVI (2004-2005) and XLVII (2006), and the Annual Review of the Croatian Academy of America, Inc. New York in 2011. Much of the material in this latest volume was, namely, published in the Journal of Croatian Studies, in issues 45 and 46 (2004 – 2005) and 47 (2006). The tome was published this year by the New York based Croatian Academy of America
The promotion of this latest joint release by Grubišić and Bubrin was expertly moderated by Vesna Kukavica, a publicist and the editor of numerous CHF publications. On hand to discuss the book were CHF director Marin Knezović MSc, professor Sanja Nikčević DSc of the Art Academy of Osijek and Antun Pavešković DSc of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. They were joined at the promo by one of the volume’s editors, Vinko Grubišić. One of the announced promoters, John Kraljic, a publisher and the president of the Croatian Academy of America who also serves as a member of Croatian Government’s Council on Croatians Abroad, was unable to participate on account of his duties related to a two-day session of the council in Zagreb. The cover illustrations, dedicated to the memories of the late fathers of the two editors, Ludvik Bubrin and Jozo Grubišić, are the work of artists Anton Cetin and Boris Matas, natives of Croatia now living in Toronto, Canada.
Besides the foreword, afterword and introduction by John P. Kraljic, Branislav Lučin and Vladimir Bubrin & Vinko Grubišić, the book offers a selection of the poetry (with English translation) of Šiško Vlahović Menčetić, Džore Držić, anonymous poets, Marko Marulić, Mavro Vetranović, Petar Hektorović, Hanibal Lucić, Antun Sasin, Nikola Dimitrović, Mikša Pelegrinović, Dinko Ranjina, Dominko Zlatarić, Brne Karnarutić and Juraj Baraković. Also represented are excerpts from the plays of Marulić, Vetranović, Džore Držić, Lucić, Nikola Nalješković, Marin Držić and Martin Benetović. Prose is represented with the Legenda Aurea, the writings of Pop Martinac, Marulić, Petar Zoranić’s Planine, Antun Dalmatin, Antun Vramec, Stjepan Konzul Istranin, Ivanuš Pergošić and Faust Vrančić.
We can define the renaissance in Croatian literature as a stylistic formation that lasted from the mid fourteenth to the late sixteenth century and that assumed the legacy of humanism, developing under the increasingly strong influence of Italian literature. It also produced works of medieval poetic characteristics. New literary forms were also created – lyric, epic and dramatic genres. In the early sixteenth century much of the Dalmatian hinterland fell under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, the southern Croatian coast remained under the rule of the Venetian Republic up to the year 1797, the Croatian Banate, referred to as the «remnants of the remnants» (reliquiae reliquiarum) was under the rule of the Habsburg Monarchy, which would also gain control of Slavonia after the Ottoman–Habsburg wars, while the Dubrovnian Republic retained the status of a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire until it fell to the French in 1808. The Croatian Renaissance was primarily characterised by new lyricism created under the influence of Italian Petrarchist poetry, with the first books of love songs appearing in Dubrovnik (Ranjina, Menčetić, Džore Držić). Amorous lyric works would also be penned by Hanibal Lucić of Hvar under the influence of Petrarch and Bembo. The most productive Croatian poet of his time was Dubrovnik’s Mavro Vetranović Čavčić. In his religious verse Split’s Marko Marulić remained closest to medieval poetry. It is interesting that Croatian writers, when writing in the Italian language, often wrote in the sonnet form, while only a few sonnets in Croatian have been preserved, penned by anonymous authors and those in Baraković’s Vila Slovinka, followed by an absence of sonnets until the nineteenth century. Epic poems were penned by Brne Karnarutić and Antun Bratosaljić Sasin, Dubrovnik’s Mavro Vetranović and Zadar’s Jure Baraković. Petar Zoranić’s Planine (written in 1536, printed in 1569) is considered to be the first Croatian novel, an pastoral influenced by Jacopo Sannazaro’s Arcadia. Petar Hektorović of Hvar penned the narrative verse Ribanje i ribarsko prigovaranje (Fishing and Fishermen’s Talk), published in Venice in 1568. The most prevalent forms in Croatian renaissance literature are those penned for the stage – comedies, Arcadian plays and tragedies, almost all being represented in Dubrovnik. The leading figure of erudite comedies is Marin Držić – he, Džore Držić and Dominko Zlatarić penned Arcadian plays, audience favourites during the carnival and wedding seasons. Nikola Nalješković earned his fame writing farces, and it should be noted that the first secular stage play in the Croatian language was created during the renaissance – Lucić’s Robinja (The Slave Girl).
The Glory and Fame / Dike ter hvaljen’ja is without a doubt an exceptional contribution to the translation of old Croatian literature – poetry, prose and drama – into the English language. The editors of this unique Croatian renaissance reader are Canadians, of Croatian and Slovak extraction: Croatian linguist, writer and long-standing professor at Waterloo University Vinko Grubišić and publicist and translator Vladimir Bubrin. Titling the book with the opening verses of Marulić’s Judita (1521) the editors have underlined the enduring heritage, literary history value and spiritual profundity of Croatian literature over past centuries. They have brilliantly compiled this tome, including its dictionary, offering a selection of excerpts and a few integral works (the shorter ones, of course) that endeavour to ease the understanding of these critical works of Croatian literature for the modern reader.
Text by: Diana Šimurina-Šoufek
Photos by: Hina, Snježana Radoš & Hrvoje Salopek