Anniversary of the birth of Ante Kovačić

Today, on 6 June 2012, we commemorate the prominent Croatian writer Ante Kovačić, who left a permanent mark on Croatian literature and became an indispensable part of Croatian literary tradition.

Ante Kovačić was a versatile writer: he wrote poetry, short stories, novels, feuilletons, reviews, satirical texts, and he was also a well-known follower of the Party of Rights and Ante Starčević’s ideas. He was born on 6 June 1854 in Oplaznik iznad Sutle, a village in the then Kingdom of Croatia. He went to primary school in the nearby village Marija Gorica. As a gifted village boy he received a letter of recommendation from Tomo Gajek, the village priest, and soon continued his education in Zagreb. He obtained a BA in Law and subsequently practiced his profession in Karlovac, Zagreb and Glina. Struggling with various misfortunes and faced with the lack of understanding by people around him, he suffered a nervous breakdown and died mentally deranged on 10 December 1889 in Stenjevec near Zagreb.

Ante Kovačić is one of the greatest writers of Croatian literary realism. He started his writing career while still in primary school. In his works he drew on impressions and images related to everyday life as well as to the area where he came from. Many struggles throughout his life drenched his soul with bitterness, which, coupled with his forceful and volatile nature, resulted in the development of a particularly strong satirical streak in Kovačić. This element is prominent in many of his poems, but also in his other works. He published his first works in the literary journal “Vijenac”. The first great prose work by Kovačić, “Baruničina ljubav”, was published in “Vijenac” in 1877. It is a novel on the borderline between Romanticism and Realism, combining dynamic and often incredible plot and a firework of linguistic expression, in which Kovačić, along with Šenoa, proved himself to be one of the most innovative literary artists in a nineteen-century-long tradition.