Sima Pandurović

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Simeon "Sima" Pandurović (Serbian Cyrillic: Сима Пандуровић; 14 April 1883 – 27 August 1960) was a Serbian poet, part of the Symbolist movement in European poetry at the time. He was one of the founders of the Moderna movement in Serbian poetry. Young Pandurović was educated at Belgrade's Grande École (Velika škola), and after a brief experience at teaching determined to devote himself to literature, writing poetry and criticism for literary magazines, particularly Misao, which he founded shortly after the war. At the beginning of the 20th Century, he joined "the poets of pessimism" -- Milan Rakić and Vladislav Petković Dis—then under the influences of Charles Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe.


Simeon Pandurović was born in the heart of Belgrade in the centre of a lively downtown in 1883. He studied philosophy at Belgrade's Grande école (Velika škola) and knew early on that he wanted to be a poet. Pandurović wrote often for "Bosanska vila" (The Bosnian Muse) in the capacity of an informed and elequent literary critic and theoretician. In addition to his thorough knowledge of the literary and cultural situation, Pandurović was Vladislav Petković Dis's principal literary associate and drinking companion in pre-Balkan Wars (1912–1913) and World War I. The duo were the enfants terrible of their literary world. They were frequent evening visitors to the Belgrade's kafanas (nightclubs) in the Bohemian quarter of the city called Skadarlija and elsewhere they would drink with friends and compose new verse at the same time. Both Pandurović and Dis were great poets, concerned to capture and project the poetic image even at the expense of the harmony sought by Jovan Dučić and Milan Rakić. Pandurović-Dis's work was also decidedly pessimisstic, open to the darker sides of humanity. In one of his more censorious moments Jovan Skerlić judged their poetry to be harmful to the health of the nation for whom it was more important to face the future with optimism. Bogdan Popović was less inclined to dismiss the work of the young poets and included in his 1911 "Anthology of Modern Serbian Lyric" (Antologija nove srpske lirike) two of Pandurović's poems, one of which has the title "Svetkovina" meaning holiday, particularly a religious festival. The lines evoke a scene in a lunatic asylum, beginning with the sonorously disturbing: "We went out of our minds one fine day" (Sišli smo s uma u sjajan dan). The poem was published in a collection called "Funeral Greetings" (Postmrtne počasti) from 1908. And one of Dis's 1911 collection "Drowned Souls" (Utopljene duše). (It had an odd sense of foreboding as the poet himself died when a boat on which he was travelling in the Adriatic in 1917 was torpedoed by a German submarine).

At the outbreak of World War I, Pandurović enlisted in the Serbian Army as a volunteer; and as a soldier he served with conspicuous distinction for the first two years. Near the end of 1915 he was captured by the Austro-Hungarian army, and sent to a military prison in Neusiedl am See, a town in Burgenland, Austria, and then in the notorious Boldogason in Hungary. He survived the internment and by the end of the war he was secretary to Serbia's Minister of Culture and assistant director of the National Library of Serbia. Between the wars, he continued to translate Shakespeare, write poetry, contribute literary articles, working also as co-editor (with Velimir Živojinoviċ) of Misao: književno-politički časopis (Thought: A Literary-Political Magazine), published bi-monthly in Belgrade, from 1919 to 1937. Although Pandurević died in 1960, he had practically ceased writing at the outbreak of World War II. From the moment the communists took power in Yugoslavia in 1945, he refused to resume his writing activity.

He died in Belgrade on 27 August 1960.


His poems -- Posmrtne Pocasti / Posthumous Honours, Mostar, 1908; Dani i Noci / Days and Nights, Belgrade, 1912; and Okovane Slogove Zagreb, 1918—have found many readers almost immediately. Equally renowned were Panduroviċ's pulpit addresses in defence of Ksenija Atanasijević when she lost her professorship at the University of Belgrade. Though he was no orator, his appeal to reason was effective. He translated Victor Hugo's Kralj se zabavlja / Le roi s'amuse (1904); Edmond Rostand's Romanticne Duse / Les romanesques (1919 and 1920); Jean Racine's Athalie (Belgrade, 1913); Moliere's Tartuffe; and some the works of Shakespeare (including Hamlet, Richard III, Henry IV, and Macbeth), with Živojin Simić, are deservedly praised by critics Jovan Skerlić, Pavle Popović, and Bogdan Popović. He also wrote a critical work -- Ogledi iz estetike / Aesthetic Outlook, published in Belgrade in 1920.

As a lyric poet, his genius is no less original; he takes rank with the best Serbian poets of his class in the Modern period of the first half of the 20th Century (1900–1940). His contemporaries were Milan Rakić, Vladislav Petković Dis, Milutin Bojić, Jovan Dučić, Veljko Petrović, Danica Marković as well as novelists Borisav Stanković, Petar Kočić, Isidora Sekulić, Jelena Dimitrijević, Veljko Milićević, Milica Janković, and others.

External links[edit]


  • Jovan Skerlić, Istorija Nove Srpske Književnosti / History of Modern Serbian Literature (Belgrade, 1921), pp. 465–466.