Andrija KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ (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 (āPleasant Conversation of the Slavonic Peopleā); and Korabglicza (āLittle Arkā), 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.
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. KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ wrote mainly in the Ikavian (ikavica) variant of the Å tokavian dialect in Latin script, a language which the common people could read and understand as their own everyday spoken language. The Å tokavian 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. KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ 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. KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ 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.
Razgovor ugodni was therefore inspired by the idealised history, folk tradition and myth of the Slavonic peoples which KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ 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 āthe peopleās songbookā and became an all-time favourite, printed in 64 known editions from 1756 to 2011. KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ 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.
In 1836 one Venceslav Juraj Dunder (a pseudonym for Vjekoslav BabukiÄ published the 10th edition of Razgovor ugodni in Vienna as āNovo Vandanjeā. An elegant and richly decorated two-volume bibliophile copy of this edition named āCarsko Vandanjeā, (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. MĆ¼llnerās 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 āimperial editionā was not a complete edition of Razgovor ugodni. It includes 58 poems from the definitive 1759 edition.
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 KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ was celebrated and reprinted as a national poet whose vision was the Slavonic peoplesā 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 KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄās sentiments and his understanding of the mutual Slavonic ties and goals.
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 āSlavonic homeland.ā The second is a Croatian dedication to the Tsar, and the third is Dunderās six-page discussion of the āSerbo-Illyrian languageā and the correct reading of the new orthography.
Both volumes bear the stamp āBibliothĆØque de Tsarskoe Seloā (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 āthe lavish editionā of KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ.
Razgovor ugodni was partly translated into Latin by Emericus PaviÄ (1716-1780), a Franciscan from Buda, in 1764 (Descriptio soluta et rythmica regum, banorum, cĆ¦terorumque heroum Slavinorum seu Illyricorum; 9475.b.9.). This translation led to a wider interest in KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄās works. Alberto Fortisās translations into Italian from Razgovor ugodni introduced KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄās 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 āPisma od Napoleonaā (Letters from Napoleon);
Vienna, 1836; RB.23.b.7396. The āimperial editionā, discussed above;
Zadar 1846; 12264.aa.10.
Zagreb, 1851; 11303.l.25. A inexpensive edition called āPjesmeā (Poems) printed in the spirit of KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ to be affordable by ordinary people;
Zagreb, 1862; 12265.cc.6. Another inexpensive edition with BabukiÄās introduction revealing that he had prepared Razgovor ugodni for publication in Vienna in 1836 under the pseudonym āV. J. Dunderā
Zagreb, 1876; 11586.df.18. The first of several of Lavoslav Hartmanās (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 Š”ŃŠ±ŃŠŗŠ¾-Š½Š°ŃŠ¾Š“Š½Šµ Š²ŠøŃŠµŠ¶ŠŗŠµ ŠæŃŠµŃŠ¼Šµ (āSerbian-folk chivalrous poemsā), is a selection from Razgovor ugodni. The other (012265.e.5/81.) was printed in PanÄevo in 1890 in the BraÄe JovanoviÄ bookshopās 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 KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄās Korabljica (Little Ark) published in 1945 (Ac.741/14.). We continue to collect works by and about KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ 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 ā 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)
Fortunato Karaman, Andrija KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ e i suoi canti. (Pula, 1889). 11840.aaa.25.(6.)
Danilo A. Å½ivaljeviÄ, āAndrija KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ slovinski pesnikā. Letopis matice srpske, 1892, III, 171, pp. 1-36. Ac.8984.
Vojislav M. JovanoviÄ, āDeux traductions ineĢdites dāAlbert Fortisā. Archiv fuĢr Slavische Philologie, 1909, Bd. xxx. Hft. 4. Sonderabdruck, -596. 011586.g.94.(5.).
Nikola Å½ic, āCarsko izdanje KaÄiÄeva razgovoraā . Obzor, 1933, 147, p. 3. MFM.MF693
GaÅ”par Bujas, KaÄiÄevi imitatori u Makarskom primorju do polovine 19. stoljeÄa. (Zagreb, 1971). Ac.741/19
Francesco Saverio Perillo, Rileggendo KaÄiÄ: tra storia e folklore. (Bari, 1979). YF.2004.a.17241
Andriia Kachich Mioshich i bÅlgarite. Editor Rumiana Bozhilova. (Sofia, 2000). YF.2012.a.21898
Stipe Botica, Andrija KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ. (Zagreb, 2003). Includes a bibliography of Andrija KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ (pp. -319). YF.2005.a.29437
Fra Andrija KaÄiÄ MioÅ”iÄ i kultura njegova doba. Editor Dunja FaliÅ”evac. (Zagreb, 2007). YF.2008.a.10573