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 a part of the Illyrian movement which influenced much of his politics and work.
Preradović was born in the village of Grabrovnica (near Pitomača), which was part of the Austrian Military Frontier, in Serbian Orthodox family of Jovan (Ivan) Preradović and Pelagija Preradović. He spent childhood in Grubišno Polje, were his father was born. Like many from the area, he chose to become a professional soldier. He was educated at the military academy at Wiener Neustadt where he converted to Catholicism and later excelled as one of the best students. There he began to write his first poems in German.
After graduation he was stationed in Milan, where he met Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski, who inspired him to start writing in Croatian. Preradović was later stationed in Zadar where he began to write for the local Croatian 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, Vraz, 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 stationed to various Austrian military outposts and gradually rose to the rank of general.
Preradović wrote poetry under the strong influence of national romanticism, while his poems often show Panslavist ideas. Due to family tragedy,(his wife, Pave, committed suicide) he became interest in spiritism and wrote some articles about the subject.
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. He is buried in 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.
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
- See Znameniti Srbi XIX veka, year 2, 2, editor Andra Gavrilović, Zagreb 1903, p. 13. Also, book published in Belgrade in 1888, Milan Đ. Milićević, Pomenik znamenitih ljudi u srpskog naroda novijeg doba, 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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