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29 June 1877|
Banja Luka, Bosnia Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
|Died||27 August 1916
Belgrade, Kingdom of Serbia
|Resting place||New Cemetery, Belgrade|
Petar Kočić (Serbian Cyrillic: Петар Кочић; 29 June 1877 – 27 August 1916) was a Bosnian Serb writer. He was active in the Serbian Orthodox National Organisation with ties to the Young Bosnia revolutionaries, after which he seceded with his closest supporters leading a wing under his leadership.
Early life and education
Kočić was born in Stričići, a mountainous village in the region of Zmijanje near Banja Luka, one year before Ottoman Empire's Bosnia Vilayet became occupied by the armed forces of Austria-Hungary and began to be run as part of the k. und k. dual monarchy. Growing up with two older siblings — brother Ilija and sister Milica — young Petar didn't even remember his mother Mara who died during his infant years. Shortly after becoming widower, his father Jovan became a monk.
The youngster started his gymnasium (high school) education in Sarajevo, but because of his pronounced Serb patriotism, he was expelled from the school and had to finish his secondary education in Belgrade, capital of neighbouring Kingdom of Serbia.
Kočić returned to his native region to teach but soon realized that his liberal, nationalistic views were incompatible with the entrenched foreign authority. There he joined a circle of Bosnian students and writers, members of Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia) and began contributing to the first Bosnian literary-cultural journal, Bosanska vila (The Bosnian Muse), edited by Nikola Kašiković, and dedicated to Bosnian literature and national liberation. In the journal, Kočić was able to poeticize prose less radically (than others), by holding on to satirical and diadactic representations of society. Kočić's artistic and social personality in Bosanska vila left a powerful influence on two short story writers Simo Eraković and Vaso Kondić. Under Kočić's influence Eraković gave confirmation of the powerful social evolution of social awareness of our writers: "nor was he (Kočić) able to avoid signs of denationalization and callousness for the sufferings of the people in the hands of the authorities". From then on the rest of Kočić's life was devoted to politics. In 1904 he moved back to Serbia, and for a short while earned his living as a teacher in Skopje. Two years later, already a well-known writer and publicist, he returned to Sarajevo, this time as a clerk of publishing company Prosveta, but after a while he was fired for taking a part in a worker's strike, and banished to Banja Luka, where he was persecuted and jailed for his patriotic stance.
There he founded a magazine Otadžbina (Fatherland), and formed a political group, which advocated a fight against the Austro-Hungarian occupation, and especially a fierce struggle against the remains of feudal slavery. As a national and social revolutionary Kočić was favoured among peasants and progressive youth, and as such he was elected as a member of Bosanski sabor (Bosnian parliament) in Sarajevo.
In 1907, the Bosnian Orthodox formed the Bosanska pravoslavna narodna organizacija (Bosnian Orthodox National Organization), headed by Petar Kočić, whose platform claimed Bosnia and Herzegovina for the Bosnia and a Bosnian national identity for Muslims and Orthodox. Austria recognized Petar Kočić as a serious enemy, continuously persecuting and repeatedly arresting him between 1907 and 1909 for his activities. On the eve of World War I and the subsequent South Slavic unification, he started to show signs of a nervous breakdown, and was taken to Belgrade for treatment. He died in a Belgrade hospital, not having lived to see the liberation and unification of South Slavs.
In the beginning of the twentieth century Banja Luka region yielded one of Bosnia's outstanding political tribunes, and one of the best storytellers in the literature of the Serbian people—Petar Kočić—whose works immortalized this world in its vital essence. Kočić's literary works presents Krajina snowstorms and hardships, evokes the dreams and discourses of this explosive region where Turks and Austrians flaunt their power and might in the face of a people who want to be rid of both of these foreign lots.
Kočić enriched Serbian literature with three, popular collections of tales, namely From the Top and Bottom of a Mountain (С планине и испод планине, 1902–1905), Howls from Zmijanje (Јауци са Змијања, 1910). His two short stories — Badger on Tribunal (Јазавац пред судом) and Trials (Суданија), first in a form of play, and second in a form of dialogue — are excellent satires on the political and social life of the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- edition of "The History of Yugoslav Literature" - "Историја југосл. књижевности", by Ðorđe Anđelić, Belgrade, 1938
- Jovan Skerlić, Istorija Nove Srpske Književnosti / History of Modern Serbian Literature (Belgrade, 1921), pp. 471–473.
- Translated and adapted from Serbian Wikipedia: Петар Кочић
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