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3 posts categorized "Bosnia and Hercegovina"

16 June 2016

What’s in a Name? Looking forward to Balkan Day 2

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The Balkans have had some bad press: from the verb ‘balkanize’, frequently used during the wars of the 1990s, which describes the process of fragmentation or division of a region to the frequent coupling with pejorative words like ‘feud’ or ‘bloodshed’. But when you look at it more objectively, why should a region as rich and varied as the Balkans be classified by violence any more than a area like Alsace-Lorraine, which has surely seen its fair share?

Balkans
The Balkan Peninsula (detail) by Jovan Cvijic (London, 1920). Maps X.4391

In the end, it all comes down to PR and perception. While Alsatian wine, gastronomy and chateaux are well-known tourist attractions, the Balkan countries also have their culinary delights, their liqueurs and their share of palaces, be they Austro-Hungarian or Venetian. When Istros published Faruk Sehic’s transformational novel based on memories of his beloved river Una, the title of the book had to be changed from the original Book of the Una to Quiet Flows the Una in order to indicate the name of a river unfamiliar to English readers. The same problem would not have occurred for a book written about the Rhine. Likewise, people feel alienated by stories from Skopje and Sofia, simply because they reach our public consciousness far less often than Strasbourg.

Balkan Mountains
“Balkan Mountains (© iStock) 

Balkan Day 2014 was billed as ‘a celebration of culture and identity’ and featured regional writers like Dubravka Ugresic, Andrej Nikolaidis and Muharem Bazdulj, among others. This was the first step of an initiative on behalf of Istros Books and the British Library to promote and raise awareness of the region and its culture here in the UK and to raise awareness.

Balkan Day I was greatly appreciated in academic and literary circles, and it is our great hope that this year’s follow-on event  will be just as popular, as we welcome Bulgarian/British writer Kapka Kassabova and the poet Fiona Sampson as well as translators Christopher Buxton, Mevlut Ceylan and Stephen Watts to Balkan Day II: A Rich Heritage of Stories. It will also be an opportunity to view the screening of Hermann Vaske’s riotous documentary film, Balkan Spirit, a film which is rarely shown in the UK but which goes a long way towards breaking down stereotypes and highlighting the positives. The director himself is coming along to this special screening and will be available for a Q&A afterwards, before an open-mike session where all participants and guests can voice their own experiences and thoughts.

In both events, we focused on local literature and translation of those stories into English, in order to highlight the links between the cultures, and the efforts being made to build cultural bridges to further understanding of a much-maligned region. At the recent UK launch of the above-mentioned Bosnian novel, Joseph Cock of Today’s Translations gave us an historical reminder of those links:

‘Perhaps translation in the Balkans has a far greater historical pedigree than we recognise. After all, Jerome, the patron saint of translators, hailed from Illyria, the name given to the Balkan Peninsula in Classical Antiquity.’

However, he goes on to point out a fact we know too well:

‘Yet despite the multitude of stories waiting to be told from the recent history of this region, the literature remains woefully underrepresented to English-speaking audiences.’

Bulgarian rug
Bulgarian rug  (© iStock)

On 24 June the British public] will have the rare opportunity to hear the only two Albanian to English literary translators working today: Robert Elsie and John Hodgson, without whom the UK reader would not have been introduced to the novels of Nobel-nominated Ismail Kadare, or heard the voice of one of Albania’s best-known political dissidents, Fatos Lubonja. There will also be the chance to hear about how the stories of their respective homelands affect the writings of Bulgarian comic author, Alek Popov, and Romania’s Ioana Parvulescu, who is also an historian at Bucharest University. Her broad knowledge of fin-de-siecle Bucharest, of the whims and charms of people of that age, make this an enchanting book and a wonderful example to life in Europe at that time. In both cases, the stories these authors have to tell open new worlds and new perceptions to readers who may have shied away from literature in translation.

Susan Curtis-Kojakovic, Istros Books

 

23 February 2015

The Champion of Slavonic Peoples: the Andrija Kačić Miošić collection in the British Library

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Andrija Kačić Miošić (1704-1760) was a Franciscan friar, reader in theology and philosophy at religious schools in Venetian Dalmatia, and a national poet. He wrote three works in his lifetime, all printed in Venice: Elementa peripatethica juxta mentem subtilissimi doctoris Joannis Duns Scoti in 1752, a philosophical textbook derived from the works of John Duns Scotus; Razgovor ugodni naroda slovinskoga (‘Pleasant Conversation of the Slavonic People’); and Korabglicza (‘Little Ark’), a collection of biblical stories and Slavonic chronicles from the beginning of the world to his time which was his last work, published in 1760. The most important of these, for which he is best known, is Razgovor ugodni, an epic history of the Slavonic peoples in prose and in 136 epic poems, first published in 1756 with a definitive second edition in 1759.

T.p. V1                             Title page of Razgovor ugodni  (Vienna, 1836). RB.23.b.7396 (vol. 1)

The significance of Razgovor ugodni lies not in its literary merit but in the influence it had on generations of Slavonic people in the Balkans. Kačić Miošić wrote mainly in the Ikavian (ikavica) variant of the Štokavian dialect in Latin script, a language which the common people could read and understand as their own everyday spoken language. The Štokavian dialect became the foundation of the literary languages developed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia in the 19th century.

Razgovor ugodni aimed to instruct and inspire the people of the Balkans by their glorious past and to instil the values of national heroism and confidence in the struggle against the Turks. Kačić Miošić wanted the people to remember who they were and where they came from as the important legacy of their honourable past. His poetry did not aim to achieve literary heights, nor did his prose strive for historical accuracy based on documentary evidence. He drew mainly on the available Latin, Italian and Croatian printed sources, as well as on the scarce historical records, but his true inspiration came from his enthusiasm for the Slavonic peoples, especially his admiration for their common efforts in the long struggle against the Turks in the Balkans over a period of two centuries. Kačić Miošić travelled extensively to learn at first-hand about this struggle from people who had orally preserved their national tradition, myths and legends and passed them on for generations. His poetry celebrates the unity, endurance, dignity and faith of the Slavonic peoples and their allies against their oppressors and laments those who have not yet set themselves free.  

T.p. V2
Title page of Razgovor ugodni: ‘Serbsko-dalmatinske vitežke narodne pjesme’. RB.23.b.7396 (vol.2)

Razgovor ugodni was therefore inspired by the idealised history, folk tradition and myth of the Slavonic peoples which Kačić Miošić presented passionately to his readers in stylized decasyllabic verses modelled on national folk poetry. No book before or since has seen more editions in Croatian literature. It was referred to as ‘the people’s songbook’ and became an all-time favourite, printed in 64 known editions from 1756 to 2011. Kačić Miošić was the first Croatian writer to whom a monument was erected, in Zagreb in 1891. Razgovor ugodni was printed in 12 Cyrillic editions from 1807 to 1939.

FrontCoverV1
Front cover of the volume 1 of the ‘Imperial edition’ of Razgovor ugodni. Vienna, 1836) RB.23.b.7396

In 1836 one Venceslav Juraj Dunder (a pseudonym for Vjekoslav Babukić published the 10th edition of Razgovor ugodni in Vienna as ‘Novo Vandanje’. An elegant and richly decorated two-volume bibliophile copy of this edition named ‘Carsko Vandanje’, (the imperial edition), was beautifully printed on fine paper with gilded edges, and decorated with an ornament on each page. The volumes were bound by C. G. Müllner’s workshop in Vienna in calf leather, blocked in colours with gilt and black tooling with leaf corner-pieces. (For a more detailed description see the British Library database of bookbindings.)  This ‘imperial edition’ was not a complete edition of Razgovor ugodni. It includes 58 poems from the definitive 1759 edition.

MSCyrillicManuscript inscription in Russian with a dedication to Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia. RB.23.b.7396, volume 2

This unique copy of Razgovor ugodni was produced as a presentation copy for Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. In the period of national revivals in 1830-40s Kačić Miošić was celebrated and reprinted as a national poet whose vision was the Slavonic peoples’ interdependence and the common purpose of unity and collaboration for cultural and political progress, freedom and emancipation. It is evident from this presentation copy that Dunder shared Kačić Miošić’s sentiments and his understanding of the mutual Slavonic ties and goals.

MSLatinDunder’s autograph inscription in Croatian dedicated to Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia. RB.23.b.7396, volume 2

There are three manuscript inscriptions in the second volume on ornamented flyleaves. The first is in Russian, dated 24 June 1835 and recommending the book to the Tsar as a learned work created in the “Slavonic homeland.” The second is a Croatian dedication to the Tsar, and the third is Dunder’s six-page discussion of the “Serbo-Illyrian language” and the correct reading of the new orthography.

  MSInstructions
Dunder’s text on the new Serbo-Croatian orthography which he promoted, RB.23.b.7396, volume 2


Stamp Tsarskoe Selo1Both volumes bear the stamp “Bibliothèque de Tsarskoe Selo” (left) which reveals the book to have been part of the private library of Tsar Nicholas I at Tsarskoe Selo near St Petersburg. It must have left the Russian Imperial Library in or before 1933 as it was advertised for sale on 20-21 June 1933, with other treasures from Austrian and Russian Imperial libraries, by the auction house of Gilhofer and Ranschburg. It is entry no. 227 in the catalogue of the sale (11910.t.27.) and images of the front cover and spine of volume one are shown in plate 21. The book was valued at 160 Swiss francs. The Zagreb daily Obzor reported on the auction and appealed to the public to raise 2000 Yugoslav dinars for the purchase of “the lavish edition” of Kačić Miošić.

Razgovor ugodni was partly translated into Latin by Emericus Pavić (1716-1780), a Franciscan from Buda, in 1764 (Descriptio soluta et rythmica regum, banorum, cæterorumque heroum Slavinorum seu Illyricorum; 9475.b.9.). This translation led to a wider interest in Kačić Miošić’s works. Alberto Fortis’s translations into Italian from Razgovor ugodni introduced Kačić Miošić’s poems to Western readers for the first time during the Romantic period.  

The British Library holds a significant collection of Razgovor ugodni collected over a period of over 160 years, from 1847 to the present day. This comprises nine 19th century editions of Razgovor ugodni, seven in Latin and two in Cyrillic scripts:

Dubrovnik, 1826; RB.31.b.368. A facsimile reprint of an 1801 Venice edition, with an additional poem “Pisma od Napoleona” (Letters from Napoleon);

Vienna, 1836; RB.23.b.7396. The ‘imperial edition’, discussed above;

Zadar 1846; 12264.aa.10.

Zagreb, 1851; 11303.l.25. A inexpensive edition called “Pjesme” (Poems) printed in the spirit of Kačić Miošić to be affordable by ordinary people;

Zagreb, 1862; 12265.cc.6. Another inexpensive edition with Babukić’s introduction revealing that he had prepared Razgovor ugodni for publication in Vienna in 1836 under the pseudonym “V. J. Dunder”

Zagreb, 1876; 11586.df.18. The first of several of Lavoslav Hartman’s (later Kugli and Deutsch, then St[jepan] Kugli) editions;

Zagreb, 1886; 011586.ff.55

The first of the two Cyrillic editions that the library holds (011586.f.74.) printed in Zemun in 1849-50 in two volumes with the title  Србско-народне витежке пјесме (‘Serbian-folk chivalrous poems’), is a selection from Razgovor ugodni.  The other (012265.e.5/81.) was printed in Pančevo in 1890 in the Braće Jovanović bookshop’s popular series Narodna biblioteka (National library) and was presented together with 250 books from this series to the Library by the Serbian Legation in 1920.

There are four 20th-century editions of Razgovor ugodni in the Library of which it is worth mentioning a critical edition of both the  1756 and 1759 editions,  published in Zagreb in 1942 (Ac.741/14.); and a 1946 edition (11588.bb.8.) which was one of 500 Yugoslav books donated by the Yugoslav government to the Library in April 1948.

The Library also holds a critical edition of the 1760 edition of Kačić Miošić’s Korabljica (Little Ark) published in 1945 (Ac.741/14.). We continue to collect works by and about Kačić Miošić as a highlight of our Croatian collections. The most recent acquisitions include a new critical edition of Razgovor ugodni (Zagreb, 2006: YF.2007.a.19001).

Milan Grba, Curator South-Eastern European Collections

Digital versions of Razgovor ugodni

Trieste [i.e. Dubrovnik], 1831 (from the National Library of Austria)

Dubrovnik, 1839 (from the National Library of Austria)

Vienna, 1836 [vol. two only] (from the National Library of the Czech Republic)

Zadar, 1851 (from the University of Wisconsin – Madison)

Zagreb, 1862 (from Harvard University)


Digital versions of Korabglicza

Venice, 1782 (from the National Library of the Czech Republic)

Dubrovnik, 1833 (from the National Library of the Czech Republic) 

 

References

Fortunato Karaman, Andrija Kačić Miošić e i suoi canti. (Pula, 1889). 11840.aaa.25.(6.)

Danilo A. Živaljević, “Andrija Kačić Miošić slovinski pesnik”. Letopis matice srpske, 1892, III, 171, pp. 1-36. Ac.8984.

Vojislav M. Jovanović, “Deux traductions inédites d’Albert Fortis”. Archiv für Slavische Philologie, 1909, Bd. xxx. Hft. 4. Sonderabdruck, [586]-596. 011586.g.94.(5.).

Nikola Žic, “Carsko izdanje Kačićeva razgovora” . Obzor, 1933, 147, p. 3. MFM.MF693

Gašpar Bujas, Kačićevi imitatori u Makarskom primorju do polovine 19. stoljeća. (Zagreb, 1971). Ac.741/19[30]

Francesco Saverio Perillo, Rileggendo Kačić: tra storia e folklore. (Bari, 1979). YF.2004.a.17241

Andriia Kachich Mioshich i bŭlgarite. Editor Rumiana Bozhilova. (Sofia, 2000). YF.2012.a.21898

Stipe Botica, Andrija Kačić Miošić. (Zagreb, 2003). Includes a bibliography of Andrija Kačić Miošić (pp. [269]-319). YF.2005.a.29437

Fra Andrija Kačić Miošić i kultura njegova doba. Editor Dunja Fališevac. (Zagreb, 2007). YF.2008.a.10573







19 May 2014

Christian Doctrine for Slavonic People: an early Bosnian and Herzegovinian printed book

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Nauk_t.p_C38e40
Nauk krstjanski za narod slovinski
(Venice 1611) British Library C.38.e.40.

Nauk krstjanski za narod slovinski (‘Christian Doctrine for Slavonic People’) is an early Bosnian and Herzegovinian printed book, printed in Venice in 1611 by the Bosnian Franciscan Matija Divković (1563-1631). The book is a compilation from the catechisms published by Jacobus Ledisma (1519-1575) and Roberto Bellarmino, translated from Latin into Bosnian, arranged and interpreted by Divković. Divković’s typographical achievements and his Christian Doctrine will be discussed at the forthcoming Balkan Day seminar at the British Library on 13 June 2014.

On the title leaf above Divković explains that he wrote his book to be useful for both clerics and lay people. Under the image of the resurrected Christ, the imprint gives the place and the year of printing, the name and address of the printer, “Pietro-Maria Bertano by the church called Santa Maria Formosa”. The title leaf bears the ownership stamp of the British Museum Library, now the British Library, dated 10 January 1849, the date of purchase from the London bookselling firm of Rodd. This is the only known copy in Britain and the only edition from Bertano’s press in the British Library.  

Jesus preaching_C38e40

The image above shows Jesus preaching to his apostles. The text on this leaf and the rest of the Christian Doctrine identifies Divković’s book as a typical work of the Counter-Reformation aimed at the revival of the Roman Catholic Church.

Here Divković explains that he translated the sacred texts into a “real and true Bosnian language” and further on he mentions “Slavonic language as in Bosnia Slavonic is spoken”. For Divković Bosnian, Slavonic and “our language”, the term he uses throughout the book, are synonyms for one language which is spoken by the people in Bosnia.

The Cyrillic alphabet in the book  is printed, in Divković’s words, using “Serbian characters” but Divković’s Cyrillic has at least ten specific characters of this minuscule Cyrillic alphabet, sometimes referred to as Bosnian Cyrillic (Bosančica); for example Divković uses a vertical rectangle symbol for the Cyrillic character ‘в’ (v).  

Divković writes mainly in the Jekavian (jekavica) variant of the Štokavian dialect with some Ikavian (ikavica) words added to it. In the Italian imprimatur printed in the Christian Doctrine the language and the alphabet are referred to as Illyric: “in lingua Illirica, & carattere Illirico di Fra Mattheo de Bossna”.

Divković’s Štokavian dialect was widely spoken in the lands which are today Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, representing one linguistic entity between Slovenian in the west and the Bulgarian  in the east.

Sto cudesa_t.p_C38e40

The above image shows Divković’s other work Sto čudesa (‘One Hundred Miracles’) bound together with the Christian Doctrine but foliated separately. The British Library has an intact copy in octavo format (Venice, 1611; C.38.e.40.). Both parts of the book have numerous misprints, which is understandable since Divković had his Cyrillic letters moulded in Venice by printers who didn’t know the language or the alphabet. A list of corrections is given at the end of the volume.

The One Hundred Miracles is Divković’s free translation of Johann Herolt’s  Sermones Discipuli de tempore et de sanctis, cum exemplorum promptuario, ac miraculis Beatae Mariae Virginis.

Annunciation_C38e40

Divković’s book contains 12 woodcuts, 10 in Christian Doctrine and two in One Hundred Miracles. The  image of the Annunciation shown here is printed on the verso of One Hundred Miracles’s title leaf which has the motif of a stork feeding with the inscription “Pietas homini tutissima virtus” (Piety is the surest virtue of man).

Divković’s significance lies in the fact that his works have been widely researched and studied as part of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian, Croatian and Serbian written heritage to the present day. Most recently, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first imprint, the Bosna Srebrena Cultural and Historical Institute in Sarajevo published a critical edition of Christian Doctrine and One Hundred Miracles transcribed into Croatian as Nauk kristijanski za narod slovinski and Sto čudesa aliti zlamen'ja Blažene i slavne Bogorodice, Divice Marije. This critical edition was published together with a facsimile of the edition of Divković’s book printed by Pietro-Maria Bertano in Venice in 1611.

The language of his book, the Štokavian dialect, became the basis of the literary languages developed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia in the 19th century.  In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Divković’s importance goes beyond the religious doctrine and church teachings that he spread in his homeland. His main legacy is his reputation as the first Bosnian typographer who printed the first Bosnian book in the language spoken by the people in Bosnia and in an alphabet that anyone in Bosnia could read.  

Nauk_small_C52a7

Divković is the author of four books; all are compilations from Christian literature popular in his time. The above image is a title-leaf of Christian Doctrine known as a “little Christian doctrine” (mali Nauk) printed in Venice 1616. The current research has identified 25 editions of this hugely popular small (16°) format of the work.

The British Library holds a copy printed by Marco Ginami (Venice, 1640-41; C.52.a.7.). It consists of 15 different religious works in prose and verse collected in one volume; one of them is Christian Doctrine, shown here as a constituent part of the work that bears the same title. This copy is one of two copies known to be in existence in Britain. It was acquired in 1889 from Nikola Batistić, a theology scholar and professor from Zadar, Croatia.

References

Đorđe Đorđević, „Matija Divković: prilog istoriji srpske književnosti XVII veka“. Glas Srpske kraljevske akademije LII (1896), LIII (1898), pp. [30]-139 and [1]-135. Ac.1131/3.

Ralph Cleminson. Cyrillic books printed before 1701 in British and Irish collections :a union catalogue. (London, 2000). 2708.h.903.

Matija Divković. Nauk kristijanski za narod slovinski : Sto čudesa aliti zlamen'ja Blažene i slavne Bogorodice, Divice Marije. Uvodna studija, rječnik i tumač imena Nauka kristijanskoga Darija Gabrić-Bagarić, Dolores Grmača, Maja Banožić. Uvodna studija, transkripcija, rječnik i tumač imena Sto čudesa Marijana Horvat. (Sarajevo, 2013) YF.2014.a.10503.

Matija Divković. Naūk karstianski za narodʹ slovinski /ovi naūkʹ Izdiačkoga iezika ispisa, privede i složi ū iezikʹ Slovinski Bogoćliūbni Bogoslovat︠s︡ʹ P.O. fra Matie Divkovićʹ.  (Sarajevo, 2013) YF.2014.a.10504  [Facsimile of the 1611 edition printed in Venice]

Milan Grba, Lead Curator South-East European Collections

Milan Grba, Lead Curator South-East European Collections - See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/bulgaria/#sthash.Rl0UhLIL.dpuf