Slovenian modernism

The monument to Slovenian modernism, symbolising the Triglav mountain, was designed by Dušan Grabrijan at Plečnik school. It was erected in 1925. The tombstone of Oton Župančič was designed after his death by his son, the architect Marko Župančič, who also made the plan for the stone vase.

Dragotin Kette, 1876-1899
slovenian poet

In 1888 he enrolled in State Secondary School, which he left after his second year and in autumn enrolled in the gymnasium. He became a member and secretary of the literary students' society Zadruga, the members of which were also Josip Murn, Oton Župančič and Ivan Cankar. Because of a political poem against Missio, he spent four hours in detention in 1893. He held lectures on literature in foreign languages, he taught Russian and befriended Ivan Cankar. He is known for his poems. He wrote neo-romantic poetry, impressionist prose and texts for children (fables, fairytales, children's songs and tales). His works for young adults have been translated into the Czech, Croatian, Hungarian, Macedonian, Slovakian and Serbian languages. After graduation in 1898, he left for Trieste, where he was enlisted by the Military Committee. Not long later he fell ill with tuberculosis, was discharged from the army and returned to Ljubljana, where he died at his friend Josip Murn’s in Cukrarna.

Josip Murn, 1879-1901
slovenian poet

In 1885 he was accepted to the church boarding school Marijanišče. Between 1890 and 1895 he visited the lower gymnasium in Ljubljana and published manuscripts of his poems in the literary newspaper Dijaške vaje. After the 1895 earthquake in Ljubljana he returned to his mother Kalan, and they moved to Cukrarna, where he spent the last part of his life. There he became friends with Ivan Cankar, Dragotin Kette and Oton Župančič. He enrolled in the upper gymnasium in Ljubljana. Murn is one of the main representatives of modernism and a contemporary of Cankar, Kette and Župančič. He was not known during his lifetime, but today his works are considered to belong to the most important works in Slovenian literature. His poems are existential, personal lyrical, mood poems, with few love and erotic poems. The topic of his works is frequently rustic and his poems include nature motifs. Besides poems he also wrote mood short stories, narrative compositions, narrative and occasional poems, fragments and German poems and his works also depicted saints. His poems are characterised by homelessness, alienation, longing, melancholy, poverty, mental loneliness, estrangement, and the premonition of death, reflecting his pessimistic inclination, mental anxiety – he was burdened by the fact that he was an illegitimate child uncared for by his mother. In June 1901 he died of tuberculosis in Cukrarna on the same bed as his friend Kette two years before. He was buried at St. Christopher's Cemetery, but his grave was later moved to the grave of Slovenian modernist poets at the Žale Cemetery in Ljubljana.

Ivan Cankar, 1876-1918
slovenian writer

In 1882 he enrolled in the primary school in Vrhnika and in 1888 in the Ljubljana Secondary School. There he joined the students' society Zadruga, where he read to other members various examples of his poems and reviews, and met Murn, Kette and Župančič. He wrote his first poems while still at secondary school, and published them in the Vrtec magazine and the Ljubljanski zvon magazine. Ivan Cankar is considered one of the four major representatives of Slovenian modernism (besides Murn, Kette and Župančič). In 1899 his first collection of poems, i.e. Erotika (Eroticism), was published, as was Čaše opojnosti (The Goblet of Inebriation) by Župančič. This year is believed to mark the start of Slovenian modernism. He soon abandoned poetry and started writing prose and drama. Influenced by romanticism, naturalism, decadence, symbolism and impressionism, he wrote tales, novellas, novels, short stories and drama texts. He died after a long illness in the provincial hospital in Ljubljana.

Oton Župančič, 1878 - 1949
slovenian poet, translator and playwright

Župančič was one of the four representatives of Slovenian modernism. He was born on 23 January 1878 in Vinica, Bela Krajina, into a well-off family. His father Franc was from Selišče near Dolenjske Toplice and mother Ana was of Croatian origin. He spent his childhood in the idyllic village of Dragatuš. He attended primary school in Vinica and most of lower gymnasium in Novo Mesto, before the family moved to Ljubljana, where he finished gymnasium. After graduating in 1896, he studied history and geography in Vienna, became a graduation candidate in 1900, but he never finished his studies. In 1904 he worked as a professor in Ljubljana for six months and then went abroad for 5 years. He lived in Paris, Switzerland and Germany, supporting himself by private tutoring. He returned to Ljubljana and became the director of the City Archive after the death of Aškerc. In 1920 he took up the position of the stage director at the Ljubljana Drama Theatre, which has been the home of Slovenian National Theatre since 1919, and later its manager. He was among the first elected members of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
During World War II he had ties with the National Liberation Struggle After the war ended, he was a member of the People's Assembly. On his 70th anniversary he was dubbed the people's poet by the authorities of that time and awarded the honorary doctorate by the Ljubljana University.
His sons are Andrej O. Župančič, a pathophysiologist, and Marko Župančič, an architect.
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