Slovenia Culture and Literature

By | November 2, 2021


According to computergees, Slovenian culture is poised between tradition and innovative impulses. In fact, the country boasts a rich folkloric heritage of popular origin that Romanticism, on the rediscovery of the unifying elements of the nation, brought to light in all its manifestations, recovering typical songs of the countryside, fables and legends, and not infrequently giving them artistic dignity. After the socialist period, during which realism triumphed in every field, the intellectuals freed themselves from isolation and opened themselves to the influence of the various currents that established themselves in Western Europe, including neo-expressionism, existentialism and modernism.. Moreover, throughout its history, the Slovenian people have always favored cultural relations with central Europe, while they have been influenced to a much lesser extent by the Balkan areas. Strong in such deep-rooted traditions, Slovenia is a country where there is a lively cultural ferment, as evidenced by the numerous institutions present in Ljubljana which boasts, in addition to the university, founded in 1919, three academies of fine arts, the Opera House, home to the Slovenian dance troupe, and numerous museums (National Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern History, Ethnographic Museum). The capital also hosts the International Summer Festival, which offers uninterrupted dance, theater and musical performances for two months, but cultural events of various kinds are also held in the province in the


In the Middle Ages, a production of a religious nature prevailed in which the Germanic cultural influence is very strong. Among the main works are the Monuments of Freising (972-1039), the manuscripts of Klagenfurt (1362-90), of Sticna (ca. 1428), of Cividale and of Castelmonte, both datable to the end of the 15th century. It was the Reformation that favored an organic development of Slovenian literature to meet the needs of evangelical catechesis. The most prominent Protestant authors were: P. Trubar (1508-86), who published the first Slovenian book, Cathechismus (1550), S. Krelj (1538-67), A. Bohorić (b. Ca. 1520) and J Dalmatin (1547-89), translator of the Bible (1584). The Counter-Reformation marked a stagnation in literary activity, overcome only in the second half of the seventeenth century. In this period there was a luxuriant religious literature in the Baroque style, the main representative of which was the preacher J. Svetokriški (1647-1714), who published a collection of homilies in 5 volumes, Sacrum promptuarium (1691-1707). However, it was necessary to wait until the age of the Enlightenment for Slovenian literature to emancipate itself from religious themes. M. Pohlin (1735-1801), with his Carniolan Grammar (1768), laid the foundations of poetics. His teachings were received by the poets F. Dev (1732-86) and V. Vodnik (1758-1819). Cultural life received a lively cultural boost from the group headed by Baron Ž. Zois (1747-1819), mentor and patron. It included B. Kumerdej (1738-1805), J. Japelj (1774-1807), J. Kopitar (1780-1841) – author of the first scientific grammar of the Slovenian language (1808-09) – and AT Linhart (1756-95), historian and first playwright in the country (The mayor’s daughterLa festa, or Maticek takes a wife). However, only Romanticism brought Slovenian literature to full maturity, through the theoretical thought of M. Cop (1797-1835), who actively engaged in the “war for the alphabet”, but above all thanks to the work of F. Prešeren (1800-49), one of the greatest Slovenian poets. Without renouncing the tradition of popular poetry, Prešeren went back to the great European literary lesson, from F. Petrarca to the German romantics, reaching, even under the formal aspect, heights of perfection never reached before. In the second half of the nineteenth century romantic elements survived alongside the new realistic trends. Among the poets, F. Levstik (1831-87), who was also a narrator (Martin Krpan), S. Jenko (1835-69), J. Stritar (1836-1923), S. Gregorčić (1844-1906) stood out. , A. Aškerc (1856-1912). The narrative achieved its first valid results, as well as with F. Levstik, with J. Jurčić (1844-81), who wrote historical novels, short stories and dramas centered on the life of peasants (The tenth brother), J. Kersnik (1852-97), interested above all in rural environments (Bozzetti rusticani) and I. Tavčar (1851- 1923), which dealt with historical and social issues (The Chronicle of Visoko). At the end of the century Slovenian literature experienced a new flowering, thanks to the work of the poets and writers of the “Modern”, linked to European impressionism, decadence and symbolism. The most authoritative representatives of Slovenian modernism were D. Kette (1876-99), author of a single volume of Poems, traversed by a tormented intimism, the poet J. Murn-Aleksandrov (1879-1901), I. Cankar (1876-1918), poet, then narrator (The servant Jernej and his law) and playwright (The servants), the poet O. Župancic (1878-1949), linked to the tradition and current events of his country. Between pre-war and post-war modernism there is a group of transitional poets: A. Gradnik (1882-1967), the most interesting personality of the time, I. Gruden (1893-1948), P. Golia (1887-1959), F. Eller (1873-1956). Interest in social issues inspired T. Seliškar (1900-1969), the first of the proletarian poets, S. Kosovel (1904-26), cantor of his native Karst, and J. Kozak (1892-1964). The poet joined the current of expressionism A. Vodnik (1901-65) and the narrator I. Pregelj (1883-1960). In the two decades 1930-50, social realism prevailed, which is reflected in the works of P. Voranc (1893-1950), M. Kranjeć (b. 1908) and I. Potrc (b. 1913). Subsequent generations are linked, from an ideological and stylistic point of view, to the different currents of contemporary European culture. The most important names are: I. Minatti (b.1924), D. Zajc (b.1929), G. Strniša (b.1930), K. Kovic (b.1931), B. Pahor (1913), A. Rebula (b.1924), P. Zidar (b.1932), P. Bozic (b.1932), C. Zlobec (b.1925), S. Šeligo (b.1935), D. Jovanovič (b. 1939), T. Šalamun (b. 1941), D. Jančar (b. 1948).


Slovenian film production for many decades was limited to the documentary sector; the first real film, On his own land, dates back to 1948 and is the work of F. Štiglic (1919-83), undoubtedly the most internationally famous Slovenian director, thanks to the appreciation he aroused at the Cannes Film Festival of 1957 his The valley of peace (award for the best leading actor). In the fifties of the last century the issues most often addressed, in a realist key, were the Resistance, national identity and the life of the bourgeoisie under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There have also been numerous reductions from national theatrical or literary works, with which Slovenian cinema has retained a strong bond. In the sixties the most representative directors are F. Cap, whose fame crossed borders thanks to the spy film X-25 javlja, B. Hladnik and M. Klopcic. Among the most recent generations of filmmakers, F. Slak, V. Vogue Anžlovar deserve a mention. J. Pervanje, I. Šterk and A. Košak. The last Slovenian film to be presented at Cannes was the comedy Artificial Paradise by K. Gordina (1990). The Slovenian Film Festival is held annually in Portorož.

Slovenia Culture