19 March 1818|
Grabrovnica, Pitomača, Slavonia, Austrian Empire
|Died||18 August 1872
Fahrafeld, Vienna, Archduchy of Austria, Austria-Hungary
|Resting place||Mirogoj, Zagreb, Croatia|
|Occupation||Poet, military officer|
|Literary movement||Illyrian Movement|
Petar Preradović (19 March 1818 – 18 August 1872) was a Croatian poet, writer, and military general in the Austro-Hungarian Army. He was of Serbian origin. He was a part of the Illyrian movement which influenced much of his politics and work.
Preradović was born in the village of Grabrovnica near the town of Pitomača in what is today northeast Croatia, but was at the time part of the Austrian Military Frontier. He was born to Serb Orthodox parents of Jovan (Ivan) Preradović and Pelagija Preradović, and spent his childhood in Grubišno Polje, were his father was born. Like many from the Military Frontier area, he chose to become a professional soldier. Preradović enrolled at the Austrian military academy at Wiener Neustadt where he converted to Catholicism and went on to excel as one of the school's best students. At the academy, he began writing his first poems in German.
After graduation he was stationed in Milan where he met Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski, a fellow Austrian officer from Croatia, who inspired him to start writing in Croatian. After Milan, Preradović was posted to Zadar where his writings were published in the local Croatian language newspaper Zora dalmatinska in 1846. He then went to Zagreb where he met the leading figures of the Illyrian movement. The champions of Illyrism, instrumental in securing the triumph of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić and Ljudevit Gaj, were Njegoš, Branko Radičević, Bogoboj Atanacković, Stjepan Mitrov Ljubiša, Stanko Vraz, Ivan Mažuranić, and Preradović.
In 1847 he was again stationed in Italy where he took part in the Wars of Italian Unification. When he returned to Croatia, he became a close associate of Josip Jelačić. He was posted to various Austrian military outposts and gradually rose to the rank of general.
Preradović's poetry was written under a strong influence of national romanticism, with strong Panslavist overtones. Due to a personal tragedy - his wife, Pave, had committed suicide - he became interested in spiritism in his later years and published articles about it.
His life, torn between his military career, politics and literature, was also marked by gambling problems and bad health. He died in Fahrafeld, Austria at the age of 54, and his resting place at the Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb.
He had seven children. One of his grandchildren was Paula von Preradović, Austrian poet and the author of the Austrian national anthem.
The romantic love for medieval traditions has complete expression in two dramas Marko Kralyevich and Vladimir i Kosara of Petar Preradović. But he achieved widespread popularity with his lyric poems. His pensive melancholy expressed itself in the allegory Putnik (The Traveler), which hides a whole life of homelessness and isolation. The same note of sadness and longing is felt in his songlet Miruy, miruy, srtse moye (Be still, my heart, be still):
Who has stirred thee, heart of mine,
That thou art so restless now?
As a bird in a cage thou longest,
In the heavens to wing thy way.
Be still, my heart, be still! . . .
In most of his poems Preradović upheld a mystic patriotism in the manner of the Polish messianists and Czech and Slovak pan-Slavists. But being too reflective, and not so keen as his progenitors, he did not exercise any decided influence on his successors.
- Pervenci collection of lyric poetry.
A monument of Petar Preradović at the Mirogoj Cemetery
A statue of Petar Preradović at the Preradović square in Zagreb
The Petar Preradović Library in Bjelovar
- Znameniti Srbi XIX veka, year 2, 2, editor Andra Gavrilović, Zagreb 1903, p. 13.
- Milan Đ. Milićević, Pomenik znamenitih ljudi u srpskog naroda novijeg doba, Belgrade 1888, p. 572.
- Fališevac, Dunja; Krešimir Nemec; Darko Novaković (2000). Leksikon hrvatskih pisaca. Zagreb: Školska knjiga d.d. ISBN 953-0-61107-2.
- biografije.org. "Petar Preradović". Biografije. Retrieved 20 Feb 2012.
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