Cover page of the first edition of the novel Planine from 1569.
|Genre||Pastoral, allegory, adventure|
Planine (English: Mountains) is a work of prose fiction, generally considered to be the first Croatian novel. It was written by Petar Zoranić in 1536 and published posthumously in Venice in 1569.
The story tells about a poet's imaginary seven-day journey across Croatian mountains on which he embarks in order to forget his love miseries. But, the principal line of the story is patriotic in character. It is composed of 24 chapters, and the introductory contains a dedication to Matej Matijević, the canon of Nin.
The hero is the shepherd Zoran (i.e. Zoranić himself), who for seven years has been suffering from unrequited love towards a maiden Jaga. One morning, wandering around, he arrives to a well called Vodica, having gotten bored with his life. Suddenly from a well a fairy Zorica (Napeja) appears, advising him to go for the mountains to find a particular plant which will cure his love pain. Then on a golden apple he makes a notice of a beautiful fairy Grace (Milošća) which transfers him across the seas to Podgorje, where he continues the journey by himself. But, soon he runs into a beast, from which Grace saves him and leads him by safer pathways. Afterwards, he arrives to the Gates of hell (Paklenica), where the fairy tells him a tale on a young maiden Bura.
The next day Zoran meets a company of shepherds with whom he spends the next three days. On the fifth day, Zoran hears from shepherds a story on the origin of Velebit and heads further to the east. There he discovers a small group of shepherds that complains of being attacked by the wolves from eastern sides (i.e. Turks), which has caused many of the shepherds to flee those areas. The next day Zoran is contacted by a fairy Consciousness (Svist) who directs him to the fairy Dinara. Dinara frees him by her magic powers from his love sufferings. Then Zoran dreams a vision of four fairies in a "gardens of Glory" (perivoj od Slave). These are the fairies Latinness (Latinka), Helleness (Grkinja) and Croatess (Hrvatica). While the first three hold in their arms a handful of golden apples (the symbol of a literary piece), the fairy Croatess is poor and makes a complaint on the small number of literary pieces written in folk language. The sixth day Zoran heads for home, but on his way he meets Dinara's daughter, fairy Krka, which drives him across Knin, Skradin and Šibenik down to the mouth of Krka (where she makes her disappearance). Thence, fairy Grace returns him back to Zaton, the place of his departure. There he finds a grave of Juraj Divnić, the bishop of Nin, and swears to follow the path of Lord's love.
Meaning and edification
Zoranić lived in times of a great danger from invading Ottoman Turks, and that consciousness has inspired his work; it pervaded it with patriotic fervour, against which all poet's personal sufferings, wishes and troubles pale and retreat.
It is a pastoral-allegorical novel (a very common type of prose in that period), written mostly in prose but with many passages in verse. Typologically it's a unique piece of its kind in Croatian literature, with motifs borrowed from Latinate and Italian literatures, with clearly discernible influences of Virgil, Ovid, Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Jacopo Sannazaro, as well as domicile writers such as Marko Marulić and Croatian začinjavci.
Planine are in fact an allegory: they are a dream, transferred to the alleged Zoran's path from Nin across the sea to Starigrad under the Velebit, and thence uphills, over Paklenica, across the Velebit, and from Lika to Dinara, where he would by the river of Krka settle down to Šibenik and thence by the sea back to Nin. Accompanied by stanzas of Petrarchan and pastoral voice, Zoranić's novel, imbuing with life an Arcadian idyll, echoes with "sorrowful shpard's tune of dispersed legacy" (tužbenim pojem pastirov od rasute bašćine), but it also answers the call of fairy Croatess in the gardens of glory (chapter 20): she objurgates Croats who "many sapient and lettered are, who thyself and their tongue joyously appraise and deck apt are" (mnozi mudri i naučeni jesu, ki sebe i jazik svoj zadovoljno pohvaliti i naresiti umili bi) but are ashamed of their Croatian language (jezika hrvackoga) and rather prefer to write in a foreign tongue. So Zoranić, three centuries before the advent of the Illyrian movement, made a defense of the Croatian language, which is one of the most important attributes of this piece.
- Ludovik Lenček, Rado (1975). Xenia Slavica: papers presented to Gojko Ružičić on the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday, 2 February 1969. Mouton. ISBN 9789027931719.
- Peter Zoranić' "Planine", der erste südslawische Roman an der Schwelle zur Neuzeit, Hubert Gleissner, 1978
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