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Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić

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Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić
BornIvana Mažuranić
(1874-04-18)18 April 1874
Ogulin, Croatian Military Frontier, Austria-Hungary
(modern-day Ogulin, Croatia)
Died21 September 1938(1938-09-21) (aged 64)
Zagreb, Sava Banovina, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
(modern-day Zagreb, Croatia)
OccupationNovelist, short story writer, fairy tales writer
CitizenshipAustria-Hungary, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Notable worksThe Brave Adventures of Lapitch,
Croatian Tales of Long Ago
Vatroslav Brlić
(m. 1892⁠–⁠1938)
RelativesIvan Mažuranić (grandfather)
Vladimir Mažuranić (father)

Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (pronounced [ǐʋana bř̩ːlitɕ maʒǔranitɕ]; 18 April 1874 – 21 September 1938) was a Croatian writer. She has been praised as the best Croatian writer for children.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

She was born on 18 April 1874 in Ogulin[1] into a well-known Croatian family of Mažuranić. Her father Vladimir Mažuranić was a writer, lawyer and historian who wrote Prinosi za hrvatski pravno-povjestni rječnik (Croatian dictionary for history and law) in 1882. Her grandfather was the politician, the Ban of Croatia and poet Ivan Mažuranić, while her grandmother Aleksandra Demeter was the sister of well-known writer and one of keypersons of Croatian national revival movement, Dimitrija Demeter. Ivana was largely home-schooled. With the family she moved first to Karlovac, then to Jastrebarsko, and ultimately to Zagreb.

Upon marriage to Vatroslav Brlić, a politician and a prominent lawyer in 1892, she moved to Brod na Savi (today Slavonski Brod) where she entered another known family and lived there for most of her life. She became the mother of seven children and devoted all her work to her family and education. Her first literary creations were initially written in French.


Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić started writing poetry, diaries and essays rather early but her works were not published until the beginning of the 20th century. Her stories and articles like the series of educational articles under the name "School and Holidays" started to be published more regularly in the journals after the year 1903.

It was in 1913 when her book The Marvelous Adventures and Misadventures of Hlapić the Apprentice (also known as The Brave Adventures of Lapitch and Čudnovate zgode šegrta Hlapića) was published that really caught the literary public's eye. In the story, the poor apprentice Hlapić accidentally finds his master's lost daughter as his luck turns for the better.

Her book Croatian Tales of Long Ago (Priče iz davnine), published in 1916, is among the most popular today in large part because of its adaptation into a computerized interactive fiction product by Helena Bulaja in 2003/2006.[2] In the book Mažuranić created a series of new fairy-tales, but using names and motifs from the Slavic mythology of Croats. It was this that earned her comparisons to Hans Christian Andersen and Tolkien who also wrote completely new stories but based in some elements of real mythology.[3]

Gravestone of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić at the Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb

Brlić-Mažuranić was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times – in 1931 and 1935 she was nominated by the historian Gabriel Manojlović,[4][5] and in 1937 and 1938 he was joined by the philosopher Albert Bazala, both based in Zagreb.[6][7] In 1937 she also became the first woman accepted as a Corresponding Member into the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts.[1] She was awarded Order of Saint Sava.[8]

After a long battle with depression, she committed suicide on 21 September 1938 in Zagreb.[9] She is buried in Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb.[10]

List of works[edit]

  • 1902 The Good and the Mischievous (Valjani i nevaljani)
  • 1905 School and Holidays (Škola i praznici)
  • 1912 Pictures (poetry) (Slike)
  • 1913 The Brave Adventures of Lapitch (Čudnovate zgode šegrta Hlapića)
  • 1916 Croatian Tales of Long Ago (Priče iz davnine)
  • 1923 A Book for Youth (Knjige o omladini)
  • 1935 From the Archives of Family Brlić in Brod na Savi (Iz arhive obitelji Brlić u Brodu na Savi)
  • 1937 Jaša Dalmatin Viceroy of the Gujarati (Jaša Dalmatin, potkralj Gudžarata)
  • 1939 Gingerbread Heart (Srce od licitara)
  • 1943 Fables and Fairy-tales (Basne i bajke)


Her books of novels and fairy tales for children, originally intended to educate her own, have been translated into nearly all European languages. Highly regarded and valued by both national and foreign literary critics, she obtained the title of Croatian Andersen.

The Marvelous Adventures and Misadventures of Hlapić the Apprentice was translated, among other languages, into Bengali (by Dr. Probal Dashgupta), Hindi, Chinese (by Shi Cheng Tai), Vietnamese (a few chapters), Turkish,[11] Japanese (by Sekoguchi Ken) and Parsi (by Achtar Etemadi).[12][13] Most of the latter translations were made indirectly, through Esperantists. The book's most recent Esperanto translation is by Maja Tišljar,[14] and important part in translations of "Adventures of Hlapić" had Spomenka Štimec,[15] the most important Croatian writer that writes in Esperanto.[clarification needed]


Bust in her native Ogulin

In the 1990s, the Croatia Film company adapted Brlić-Mažuranić's work The Marvellous Adventures and Misadventures of Hlapić the Apprentice as a children's animated feature, Lapitch the Little Shoemaker.[16] Originally released in 1997, it became Croatia's most successful theatrical release,[17][18] and was its official submission to the 70th Academy Awards (in the Best Foreign Language Film category).[19]

Milan Blažeković, the director of Lapitch, has been developing another animated adaptation of her works since 2000, Tales of Long Ago (Priče iz davnine).[20][21]

In 2000, Helena Bulaja started an interactive animated project based on her book Croatian Tales of Long Ago. The project, which consists of eight animated interactive stories, cartoons and games, was published as two CD-ROMs and a series of book/DVD editions. It was created in Flash by eight independent international teams of animators, illustrators, musicians, programmers, actors etc. from all around the world (US, France, UK, Germany, Russia, Australia, Croatia), whose work was coordinated on the Internet. The unique and innovative project and the animations won several awards at the most famous international festivals of new media and animation, including Flashforward San Francisco, Lucca Comics and Games multimedia award, International Family Film Festival in Hollywood and others.[22] A series of innovative educational iPhone and iPad games based on the project are in development.[23]


On 18 April 2014, Google celebrated Ivana Brlić Mažuranić’s 140th Birthday with a doodle.[24][25]


  1. ^ a b Milorad Živančević (1971). Živan Milisavac (ed.). Jugoslovenski književni leksikon [Yugoslav Literary Lexicon] (in Serbo-Croatian). Novi Sad (SAP Vojvodina, SR Serbia): Matica srpska. p. 53.
  2. ^ Worldwide Fairytale Adventure Croatian Tales of Long Ago Archived 22 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Edward Picot. "Twice Told Tales" at The Hyperliterature Exchange. "During her own lifetime Mazuranic was known as "the Croatian Andersen". The Bulajas, in one of their notes on her work, make the counter-claim that she should be regarded as "the Croatian Tolkien" instead, and they present several pieces of evidence for this case.."
  4. ^ "Nomination Database – Literature (1931)". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  5. ^ "Nomination Database – Literature (1935)". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  6. ^ "Nomination Database – Literature (1937)". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Nomination Database – Literature (1938)". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  8. ^ Acović, Dragomir (2012). Slava i čast: Odlikovanja među Srbima, Srbi među odlikovanjima. Belgrade: Službeni Glasnik. p. 561.
  9. ^ Pentavec, Kristina. "Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić u kontekstu građanskog životau Brodu na Savi". Repozitorij Fakulteta hrvatskih studija. Hrvatski studiji Sveučilišta u ZagrebuStudij kroatologije.
  10. ^ "Ivana Brlić Mažuranić". Gradska Groblja Zagreb.
  11. ^ "Çırak Hlapiç'in Olağanüstü Maceraları".
  12. ^ (in Croatian) Kroatio gajnis jam 2 foje la premion Archived 17 January 2021 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Štimec, Spomenka (2013). "Azijsko putovanje Šegrta Hlapića na krilima esperanta" [The Asian Journey of Hlapich the Apprentice on the Wings of Esperanto] (PDF). Libri et Liberi (in Croatian). 2 (2): 253–266. doi:10.21066/carcl.libri.2013-02(02).0033. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  14. ^ (in Croatian) Vjesnik Hlapić govori bengalski, a Waitapu kineski, 22. studenoga 2006.
  15. ^ (in Croatian) Spomenka Štimec Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ (in Croatian) Vjesnik Scenarij za seriju o našem šegrtu Hlapiću rade Britanci, a crtaju ga Korejanci!, 5 December 1999
  17. ^ "CHILDREN'S FILM PROGRAMME". Pula Film Festival. July 2008. Archived from the original on 15 July 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
  18. ^ "Čudnovate zgode šegrta Hlapića" (in Slovenian). SloCartoon. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  19. ^ "44 Countries Hoping for Oscar Nominations" (Press release). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 24 November 1997. Archived from the original on 13 February 1998. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  20. ^ Bukovac, Petar (5 November 2000). "Nakon Šegrta Hlapića, uskoro nam dolaze i Priče iz davnine" (in Croatian). Vjesnik d.d. Archived from the original on 14 July 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  21. ^ "Tales of Long Ago". Animafest Zagreb. 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  22. ^ "Bulaja Naklada". Bulaja Naklada. October 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  23. ^ "Bulaja Naklada – News". Bulaja Naklada. October 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  24. ^ Desk, OV Digital (17 April 2023). "18 April: Remembering Ivana Brlić Mažuranić on Birthday". Observer Voice. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  25. ^ "129th Birthday of Monteiro Lobato". www.google.com. Retrieved 18 April 2023.

External links[edit]

Animated adaptations