By Danijel Dzino
Croatian Studies Review, Vol. 7, No. 1-2, (2011)
Abstract: This paper is focusing on the use of motifs from Croatian early medieval history in Nazor’s topical collection of poetry entitled Hrvatski kraljevi (The Kings of the Croats). Hrvatski kraljevi functions perfectly within its Zeitgeist, as Nazor’s way to re-create Croatian historical memory and distribute it as ‘poetical knowledge’ to the readers. The metaphor of blut und boden, strongly showing throughout this topical collection of poetry, constructs and embodies continuity with the past, and boosts the sense of national unity in Nazor’s present(s). For Nazor’s generation of Croatians, medieval Croats were tremendously important symbols used to draw and develop a Croatian historical ‘genealogy’ in order to position the Croatians amongst European nations of the time.
Introduction: Historical and mythological topics take a significant place in the opus of Vladimir Nazor, in both his prose and poetry. He used motifs and personalities from medieval Croatian history, and widely exploited a literary and ethnological discourse developing in the 19th century, known as ‘Slav mythology’. Working within the intellectual framework of romantic nationalism, and influential ideologies of his time, such as panslavism and yugoslavism, Nazor looked into the past to find inspiration for his art, but also to address his present. This paper will focus on the use of motifs from Croatian early medieval history in Nazor’s topical collection of poetry entitled Hrvatski kraljevi (The Kings of the Croats). Hrvatski kraljevi had a long and complex evolution, and Nazor worked on them for more than thirty years. Originally, this collection of poems was completed in 1903 and published in 1904, under the title Knjiga o kraljevima hrvatskijem (The Book about Croat Kings) by Hrvatska knjižarnica in Zadar.