France Prešeren

France Prešeren[ii] (pronounced [fɾanˈtsɛ pɾɛˈʃeːɾən] (listen)) (2 or 3 December 1800[iii] – 8 February 1849) was a 19th-century Romantic[4] Slovene poet whose poems have been translated into English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Slovak, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Bengali, as well as to all the languages of former Yugoslavia, and in 2013 a complete collection of his "Poezije" (Poems) was translated to French.[5][6]

He has been generally acknowledged as the greatest Slovene classical poet and has inspired virtually all later Slovene literature.[7] He wrote some high quality epic poetry, for example the first Slovene ballad and the first Slovene epic. After his death, he became the leading name of the Slovene literary canon.[8]

He tied together the motifs of his own unhappy love with that of an unhappy, subjugated homeland. Especially after World War II in the Slovene Lands,[8] one of Prešeren's motifs, the "hostile fortune", has been adopted by Slovenes as a national myth, and Prešeren has been described being as ubiquitous as the air in Slovene culture.[Note 1]

During his lifetime, Prešeren lived in conflict with both the civil and religious establishment, as well as with the provincial bourgeoisie of Ljubljana. He fell victim to severe drinking problems and tried to take his life on at least two occasions, facing rejections and seeing most of his closest friends die tragically. His lyric poetry dealt with the love towards his homeland, the suffering humanity, as well as his unfulfilled love towards his muse, Julija Primic.[11]

Although he wrote in Slovene, some poems were also written in German.[12] As he lived in Carniola, he at first regarded himself a Carniolan, but gradually took the broader Slovene identity.[13]

France Prešeren
Prešeren, 1850 oil portrait[i]
Prešeren, 1850 oil portrait[i]
Born3 December 1800
Vrba, Carniola, Habsburg Monarchy (now Slovenia)
Died8 February 1849 (aged 48)
Kranj, Austrian Empire (now Slovenia)
OccupationPoet, lawyer
LanguagePrimarily Slovene, some works in German.
NationalityCarniolan, Slovene
Literary movementRomanticism
Notable worksThe Baptism on the Savica
O Vrba
Sonnets of Misfortune
A Wreath of Sonnets


Early life and education

France Prešeren was born in the Upper Carniolan village of Vrba, then part of the Habsburg Monarchy (today in Slovenia), as the third of eight children and the first son in the family of a well-off farmer and an ambitious and better educated mother who taught her children to write and read and soon sent them to their uncles who were Roman Catholic priests.[14]

Already as a child, France showed considerable talent, and so his parents decided to provide him with a good education. At the age of eight, he was sent to elementary schools in Grosuplje and Ribnica, run by the local Roman Catholic clergy. In 1812, he moved to the Carniolan provincial capital of Ljubljana, where he attended the State Gymnasium. Already at a very young age, he learned Latin, Ancient Greek, and German, which was then the language of education, administration, and high culture in most areas inhabited by Slovenes. In Ljubljana, Prešeren's talent was spotted by the poet Valentin Vodnik, who encouraged him to develop his literary skills in Slovene. As a high school student, he became friends with the future philologist Matija Čop, who would have an extremely important influence on the development of Prešeren's poetry. In 1821, Prešeren enrolled at the University of Vienna, where he studied law, against the wishes of his mother, who wanted him to become a priest. In Vienna, he became acquainted with the western canon from Homer to Goethe, but he was most fascinated by Dante and the Italian trecentists, especially Petrarch and Boccaccio. He also read contemporary Romantic poets, and he was even fired from a teaching post at Klinkowström's Jesuit institute for having loaned a booklet of banned poetry to his friend Anastasius Grün.

Later life

Prešeren's muse, Julija Primic, in a portrait by Matevž Langus

After acquiring a law degree in 1828, he returned to Ljubljana, where he was employed as an assistant in the firm of the lawyer Leopold Baumgartner. He constantly strove to become an independent lawyer, filing as many as six applications, but he was not successful. In 1832, he briefly moved to Klagenfurt in the hope of furthering his career, but returned to Ljubljana after less than a year. In the spring of 1833, he met Julija Primic, the daughter of a rich merchant, who would become the unfulfilled love of his life. In 1833,[15] he became a member of the Ljubljana high society's social club, called the Casino Society (Slovene: Kazinsko društvo, German: Casino-Gesellschaft),[16] and met Julija in 1834 and 1835 at the theatre and at the dances in Kazina,[17][18] but did not have the courage to directly show her his feelings towards her.[18] In 1834, he began working as an assistant to his friend Blaž Crobath, who gave Prešeren enough free time to engage in his literary activities. In the same year, he met the Czech romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha and the Slovene-born Croatian poet Stanko Vraz and had long and fruitful discussions on poetry with them.[19]

Around 1836, Prešeren finally realized that his love for Julija would never become mutual (she had married another man the previous year). The same year, he met Ana Jelovšek, with whom he entered into a permanent relationship. They had three children, but never married. Prešeren supported Ana financially and treated her as his rightful mate, but engaged in several other love affairs at the same time. He also spent a lot of time travelling throughout Carniola, especially to Lake Bled, from the scenery of which he drew inspiration for his poems. In 1846, Prešeren was finally allowed to open his own law firm and moved to Kranj with his family. He died there on 8 February 1849. Upon his deathbed he confessed that he had never forgotten Julija.

In general, Prešeren's life was an unhappy one.


Early years

Prešeren's first serious poetic attempts date from his student years in Vienna. In 1824, he wrote some of his most popular poems, still under the influence of Valentin Vodnik and the rich tradition of Slovene folk poetry. In 1825, he completed a collection of "Carniolan poems," which he showed to the philologist Jernej Kopitar. Kopitar was very critical of the young man's literary attempts, and so Prešeren destroyed the entire collection. Kopitar's rejection hindered the development of Prešeren's creativity; he did not publish anything more until 1827, when his satirical poem "To Maidens" (Dekletom) was published by the German language journal Illyrian Paper (German: Illyrisches Blatt). In 1828, Prešeren wrote his first important poem, "A Farewell to Youth." However, it was published only in 1830, in the literary almanac Krajnska čbelica (The Carniolan Bee), established the same year by the librarian Miha Kastelic in Ljubljana. The journal published another well-known poem by Prešeren that year, the first Slovene ballad. It was titled "The Water Man" (Povodni mož) and was a narration about Urška, a flirt from Ljubljana that ended in the hands of a handsome man who happened to be a water man.

In 1830, his friend from high school, Matija Čop, returned to Ljubljana and re-established contacts with Prešeren. Čop soon recognized his friend's poetic talent and persuaded him to adopt Romanic poetic forms. Following Čop's advice, Prešeren would soon become a master of the sonnet. His poems were noticed by the Czech scholar František Čelakovský, who published several highly positive critiques of it. Čelakovský's praise was extremely important for Prešeren's self-esteem and gave him the strength to continue in the path on which Čop had orientated him.

The most productive years

Between 1830 and 1835, Prešeren composed his esthetically most accomplished poems, which were inspired by the setbacks in his personal life, especially by his unrequited love for Julija Primic. Prešeren followed Čop's advice and transformed Julija into a poetic figure, reminiscent of Dante's Beatrice and Petrarch's Laura.

A Wreath of Sonnets

A Wreath of Sonnets (Sonetni venec) is Prešeren's most important poem from his early period. It is a crown of 15 sonnets. It was published on 22 February 1834 in the Illyrian Paper. In it, Prešeren tied together the motifs of his own unhappy love with that of an unhappy, subjugated homeland. The poem was recognized as a masterpiece by Matija Čop, but it did not gain much recognition beyond the small circle around the journal Krajnska čbelica. Moreover, Julija was unimpressed. Understandably, Prešeren moved to more bitter verses.

Sonnets of Misfortune

O Vrba, Kranjska čbelica, 1834
O Vrba, the first of the Sonnets of Misfortune, published in 1834 in the 4th volume of Krajnska čbelica

Another important work from this period are the "Sonnets of Misfortune" (Sonetje nesreče), which were first drafted already in 1832, but were published in the 4th volume of Krajnska čbelica only in July 1834, with some changes. They are the most pessimistic of Prešeren's works. This is a group of six (initially seven) sonnets expressing the poet's despair over life. In the first sonnet, titled "O Vrba," Prešeren reflects on what his life could have been like, had he never left his home village. The other sonnets from the circle have not gained such a widespread popularity, but are still considered by scholars to be among Prešeren's most genuine and profound works.

After Čop's death

1835 was Prešeren's annus horibilis. His closest friend Matija Čop drowned while swimming in the Sava River, Julija Primic married a wealthy merchant, and Prešeren became alienated from his friend and editor of the literary journal Krajnska čbelica, Miha Kastelic. Following his best friend's death, Prešeren wrote the epic-lyric poem The Baptism on the Savica (Krst pri Savici), dedicating it to Čop. Set during the forced Christianisation of the predecessors of Slovenes, the Carantanians, in the late 8th century, the poem addresses the issues of collective identity and faithfulness to the ancestors' ways, as well as the issue of individual and his hope and resignation. The philosopher Slavoj Žižek interpreted the poem as an example of the emergence of modern subjectivity.

In 1837, Prešeren met Emil Korytko, a Polish political activist from Galicia, confined by the Austrian authorities to Ljubljana. Korytko introduced to Prešeren the work of Adam Mickiewicz, which had an important influence on his later works. The two even jointly translated one of Mickiewicz's poems ("Resygnacja") from Polish to Slovene and started collecting Slovene folk songs in Carniola and Lower Styria. In 1839, Korytko died, leaving Prešeren without an important interlocutor after Čop's death.

In the autumn of the same year, Andrej Smole, one of Prešeren's friends from his youth, returned home after many years of living and travelling abroad. Smole was a relatively rich young intellectual from a well-established merchant family, who supported the development of Slovene culture. The two spent much of the winter of 1839–1840 on Smole's estate in Lower Carniola, where they planned several cultural and literary projects, including the establishment of a daily newspaper in the Slovene language and the publishing of Anton Tomaž Linhart's comedy Matiček's Wedding which had been prohibited as "politically inappropriate" in 1790, due to the outbreak of the French Revolution. Both projects failed: the planned journal Ilirske novice was blocked by the Viennese censorship, and Linhart's play would be staged only in 1848, without Prešeren's assistance. Smole died suddenly in 1840, literally in Prešeren's arms, while celebrating his 40th birthday. Prešeren dedicated a touching, yet unexpectedly cheerful and vitalist poem to his late friend.

The later years

The original manuscript for Zdravljica, written in the old Slovene alphabet

After 1840, Prešeren was left without any interlocutor who could appreciate his works, but continued to write poetry, although much less than in the 1830s. He gradually departed from the typical romantic trend, adopting an increasingly diverse and innovative style. In 1843, an important breakthrough for Prešeren happened: Janez Bleiweis started publishing a new daily journal in the Slovene language and invited Prešeren to participate in its cultural section. The two men came from rather different backgrounds: Bleiweis was a moderate conservative and staunch supporter of the ecclesiastical and imperial establishments and alien to the Romantic culture. He nevertheless established a fair relationship with the poet. Prešeren's participation in Bleiweis' editorial project was the closest he would come to public recognition during his lifetime.

In 1844, he wrote the patriotic poem "Zdravljica" (A Toast), the most important achievement of his late period. In 1847, a volume of his collected poems was published under the simple title Poezije dr. Franceta Prešerna (Poems of Dr. France Prešeren).

Prešeren spent the last two years of his life occupied with private life and his new job as a lawyer in Kranj. According to some accounts, he was planning several literary projects, including a novel in the realistic style and an experimental play, but he was struck with liver disease caused by his excessive drinking in prior years. The revolution of 1848 left him rather indifferent, although it was carried out by the young generation who already saw him as an idol of democratic and national ideals. Before his death, he did however redact his Zdravljica, which was left out from the 1847 volume of poems, and made some minor adjustments for a new edition of his collected poems.

Reception and influence

Today, Prešeren is still considered one of the leading poets of Slovene literature, acclaimed not only nationally or regionally, but also according to the standards of developed European literature. Prešeren was one of the greatest European Romanticists. His fervent, heartfelt lyrics, intensely emotional but never merely sentimental, have made him the chief representative of the Romantic school in Slovenia.

Nevertheless, recognition came slowly after his death. It was not before 1866 that a real breakthrough in the reception of his role in Slovene culture took place. In that year, Josip Jurčič and Josip Stritar published a new edition of Prešeren's collection of poems. In the preface, Stritar published an essay which is still considered one of the most influential essays in Slovene history. In it, he showed the aesthetic value of Prešeren's work by placing him in the wider European context. From then on, his reputation as the greatest poet in the Slovene language was never endangered.


Žive naj vsi narodi Prešeren Schuman
A memorial with “Žive naj vsi narodi” the first line of the Slovene national anthem by France Prešeren near the Schuman roundabout, Brussels.

Prešeren's legacy in Slovene culture is enormous. He is generally regarded as the national poet. In 1905, his monument was placed at the central square in Ljubljana, now called Prešeren Square. By the early 1920s, all his surviving work had been catalogued and numerous critical editions of his works had been published. Several scholars were already dealing exclusively with the analysis of his work and little was left unknown about his life. In 1945, the anniversary of his death, called Prešeren Day, was declared as the Slovene cultural holiday. In 1989, his Zdravljica was declared the national anthem of Slovenia, replacing the old Naprej, zastava slave. In 1992, his effigy was portrayed on the Slovene 1000 tolar banknote, and since 2007, his image is on the Slovene two-euro coin. The highest Slovene prize for artistic achievements, the Prešeren Award, is named after him.


  1. ^ Translator and a Slovene writer who writes in English, Erica Johnson Debeljak, has been quoted[9] comparing the status of Prešeren in Slovene culture to an entity as ubiquitous as air, describing in her essay "Prešeren's air" how he is frequently referenced to as simply "the poet", the identity of whom is obvious to all but to the yet uninitiated into the Slovene culture.[10]
  1. ^ The portrait was the first depiction of the poet and the only one created from the memory of his actual appearance.[1] After 1900, this depiction served as the pattern for later depictions although its veracity has been doubted.[1][2]
  2. ^ In his home village he was also known as Ribčev France.
  3. ^ Although his birth date has been mostly presumed to be 3 December, in 2002 a detailed family tree of the poet's family, published by the Slovene Genealogical Society, put the date of his birth on 2 December, whereas 3 December has been identified by them as the date of his baptism.[3]


  1. ^ a b Šavc, Urška. "Zbirka portretov Franceta Prešerna" [The Collection of Depictions of France Prešeren]. In Šmid Hribar, Mateja; Golež, Gregor; Podjed, Dan; Kladnik, Drago; Erhartič, Bojan; Pavlin, Primož; Ines, Jerele (eds.). Enciklopedija naravne in kulturne dediščine na Slovenskem – DEDI [Encyclopedia of Natural and Cultural Heritage in Slovenia] (in Slovenian). Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  2. ^ Globočnik, Damir. "Prešeren in likovna umetnost" [Prešeren and the Visual Arts] (in Slovenian). Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  3. ^ Kunčič, Mirko (30 December 2002). Slovenske novice [Slovene News]. Genealogy Society. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Juvan, Marko (5 May 2011). "Čop in Prešeren ali transfer svetovne književnosti na Kranjsko" [Čop and Prešeren or the Transfer of the World Literature to Carniola] (PDF) (in Slovenian). Ljubljana. COBISS 32619309. Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ Database of translations – Prešeren Archived 5 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Slovene Book Agency, 2013
  7. ^ Svetina, Peter (8 February 2008). "France Prešeren, največji slovenski pesnik" [France Prešeren, the Greatest Slovene Poet] (PDF). Novice – Slovenski tednik za Koroško.
  8. ^ a b Božič, Zoran (2011).Dejavniki literarne kanonizacije v srednješolskih berilih – na primeru Prešerna (Factors of literary canonisation in high school reading materials – the case of Prešeren), Jezik in slovstvo, vol.56, 5–6, pp. 3–26 COBISS 50591842
  9. ^ Šinkovec, Ana: A Man Who Turned Literacy into Art, Slovenia Times, 6 February 2009
  10. ^ Johnson Debeljak, Erica: Prešernov zrak,, a portal dedicated to Prešeren
  11. ^ Merhar, Ivan (1901). "France Prešeren". Slovenka. 5 (1). Konzorcij Edinosti. p. 9. COBISS 34874369.
  12. ^ Rozka, Štefan (1974). "Angleški slavist o Prešernovih nemških pesmih" [The English Slavist about Prešeren's German Poems] (in Slovenian). 19 (8). Slavistično društvo Slovenije [Slavic Society of Slovenia]. pp. 324–325. COBISS 16317485.
  13. ^ Perušek, Rajko (1901). "Prešeren in Slovanstvo: Z dostavkom uredništva = A. Aškerc". Ljubljanski zvon. 21 (1). Tiskovna zadruga. p. 64. ISSN 1408-5909. COBISS 30001665. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  14. ^ "France Prešeren: Življenjepis: 1800–21: Otroška leta v Vrbi in pri stricih v Ljubljani, šolska leta v Ljubljani" [France Prešeren: Biography: 1800–21: Children Years in Vrb and by Uncles in Ljubljana, School Years in Ljubljana]. (in Slovenian). Založba Pasadena d.o.o. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  15. ^ Kolar, Ivan (1958). "Literarni sprehod po Ljubljani" [A Literary Walk Through Ljubljana]. Jezik in slovstvo [Language and Literature] (in Slovenian). 4 (1): 77.
  16. ^ Vrhovnik, Ivan (1912). "Vodnik in Prešern – člana Kazine" [Vodnik and Prešern – Members of the Kazina]. Ljubljanski zvon (in Slovenian). 32 (3): 167–168. ISSN 1408-5909.
  17. ^ Habič, Marko (1997). "Kazina" [The Casino Building – Kazina]. Prestolnica Ljubljana nekoč in danes [A Pictorial Chronicle of a Capital City]. National Publishing House of Slovenia. ISBN 86-341-2007-4.
  18. ^ a b Slodnjak, Anton (—). "France Prešeren". In Vide Ogrin, Petra (ed.). Slovenski biografski leksikon [Slovene Biographical Lexicon (in Slovenian) (Elektronska izdaja [Electronic Edition] ed.). Scientific and Research Centre, Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts. ISBN 978-961-268-001-5. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2012. Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  19. ^ "France Prešeren: Življenjepis: 1833" (in Slovenian). Retrieved 5 November 2010.

Further reading

  • Henry Ronald Cooper, Francè Prešeren (Boston, MA: Twayne, 1981).
  • Janko Lavrin, Francè Prešeren: 1800–1849 (Bristol: Western Printing Services Ltd., 1955).

External links

A Wreath of Sonnets

A Wreath of Sonnets (Slovene: Sonetni venec), sometimes also translated as A Garland of Sonnets, is a crown of sonnets that was written by France Prešeren in 1833. It was published for the first time in the German-language Ljubljana newspaper Illyrisches Blatt (Illyrian Newspaper) on 22 February 1834. It consists of 15 sonnets and is enriched with acrostic in the concluding sonnet. In the crown, Prešeren tied together the motives of his own unhappy love towards Julija Primic with that of an unhappy, subjugated homeland.

Anthem of the Slovene nation

The "Anthem of the Slovene nation" (Slovene: Himna slovenskega naroda) is the national anthem of Slovenia. It is based on "Zdravljica", a carmen figuratum poem by the 19th-century Romantic Slovene poet France Prešeren, inspired by the ideals of Liberté, égalité, fraternité, and set to music by Stanko Premrl. As the national anthem, it is one of the state symbols of Slovenia.

Cerov Log

Cerov Log (pronounced [ˈtseːɾou̯ ˈloːk]) is a small settlement in the Gorjanci Hills in the Municipality of Šentjernej in southeastern Slovenia. Its territory extends right to the border with Croatia. The area was traditionally part of Lower Carniola. It is now included in the Southeast Slovenia Statistical Region.There is a 16th-century three-storey mansion south of the settlement known as Prežek Castle. In the 1830s it was owned for a while by Andrej Smole, a collector of Slovene folk songs and friend of the poet France Prešeren.

Jesenice Upper Sava Museum

The Jesenice Upper Sava Museum (Slovene: Gornjesavski muzej Jesenice) is a regional museum based in the town of Jesenice and the neighboring Municipality of Kranjska Gora, both in northwestern Slovenia. The museum's name refers to the general area it documents, the upper Sava Dolinka Valley. Its holdings include two restored historic farmhouses, the archives of the KID company, and display spaces in the two surviving "ironworks castles" (of the original four), manors built in the area during the 16th and early 17th centuries by the owners of local iron-mining and iron-processing works. The museum was established in its present form in 1992, although several of its constituent facilities operated independently beforehand.Located in Jesenice;

Bucellini–Ruard Manor (45 France Prešeren Street): museum headquarters, history of the regional ironworks, paleontological collection

Kos Manor (64 Marshal Tito Street): art gallery, museum of local history

Workers' Barracks (48 France Prešeren Street): ethnographic collection, reconstructed early-20th century workers' residential blockLocated in Mojstrana:

Slovenian Alpine Museum (49 Triglav Street): collection on the history of Slovene mountaineering, 18th century–World War II, information station of Triglav National ParkLocated in Kranjska Gora:

Liznjek Farm (64 Borovec Street): authentic Slovene alpine farmhouse, renovated into an ethnographic museum in 1983. The basement contains an exhibit on the local writer Josip Vandot and a gallery.Located in Rateče:

Kajžnk House (43 Rateče): renovated building preserving regional folk architecture. Exhibits on local history, handicrafts, and folk costume

Koncert u KUD France Prešeren

Koncert u KUD France Prešeren is a live album released in 1997 by Montenegrin-Serbian musician Rambo Amadeus. It was recorded in the cultural hall of France Prešeren Culture and Arts Association (Slovene: Kulturno umetniško društvo France Prešeren, shortly KUD France Prešeren) in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

List of Slovene-language poets

Poets who wrote or write much of their poetry in Slovene.

Municipality of Žirovnica

The Municipality of Žirovnica (pronounced [ʒiˈɾoːu̯nitsa]; Slovene: Občina Žirovnica) is a municipality in Slovenia. It is located in the historic Upper Carniola region, on the southern slope of the Karavanke mountain range, close to the border with Austria. The municipality borders with Jesenice to the west, Bled and Radovljica to the south, and Tržič to the east.

There are ten settlements in the municipality: Breg, Breznica, Doslovče, Moste, Rodine, Selo, Smokuč, Vrba, Zabreznica and Žirovnica. The municipal administration is based in Breznica.

A number of figures important to Slovenes come from the Municipality of Žirovnica: the poet France Prešeren, the linguist Matija Čop, Archbishop Anton Vovk, the pioneering bee-keeper Anton Janša, and the writers Janez Jalen and Fran Saleški Finžgar. Bronze busts of all five have been put up in front of the school in Zabreznica. There is a well-marked trail through the villages called The Cultural Heritage Route. This can be followed to visit certain monuments associated with the above figures (e.g., the houses where Prešeren, Čop, Finžgar, and Jalen were born, all of which are small museums, Janša's beehive) and a number of other historical and cultural monuments in the area.

In the Završnica Valley, behind the Reber range that overlooks the villages, the first public hydroelectric plant in Slovenia was built in 1914. In 1952, after building a 60 m dam (the highest dam in Slovenia to date) in the Kavčke Gorge, a second hydroelectric plant opened in nearby Moste. This was the first hydroelectric plant to operate on the Sava River.

O Vrba

"O Vrba" is a sonnet written in 1832 and later corrected by the Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren, who is considered the national poet of Slovenia. It was published in 1834 in the fourth volume of the almanac Krajnska čbelica (Carniolan Bee). It is the introductory exposition of a cycle of six sonnets, titled the Sonnets of Misfortune (Slovene: Sonetje nesreče). The sonnet is dedicated to the Prešeren's home village of Vrba, expressing a sense of general melancholy over the lost idyll of the rural environment. According to contemporary Slovene literary critics, especially Marija Pirjevec, Boris Paternu and Janko Kos, the meaning of the sonnet is centered on the problem of insecurity and unhappiness of a free subject detached from the theocentric world view. The sonnet form follows the rules abstracted by August Wilhelm Schlegel from the sonnets of Petrarch. In the 20th century, several musical interpretations of the poem were created, the most known of them probably being a version by the Slovene folk rock musician Vlado Kreslin.

Prešeren Award

The Prešeren Award (Slovene: Prešernova nagrada), also called the Grand Prešeren Award (Slovene: Velika Prešernova nagrada), is the highest decoration in the field of artistic and in the past also scientific creation in Slovenia. It is awarded each year by the Prešeren Fund (Prešernov sklad) to two eminent Slovene artists, with the provision that their work was presented to the public at least two years ago. In general, it may be given to an artist only once, and can also be given to a group of artists. It is given on the eve of the Prešeren Day, the Slovenian cultural holiday celebrated on the anniversary of the death of France Prešeren, the Slovene national poet. On the same occasion, the Prešeren Fund Awards (nagrade Prešernovega sklada) or Small Prešeren Awards (male Prešernove nagrade) are given to up to six artists. The awardees also receive a financial award, with the Prešeren Award three times as high as the Prešeren Fund Award. In recent years, the awards have been increasingly given for lifetime work.

Prešeren Day

The Prešeren Day, the full name being Prešeren Day, the Slovene Cultural Holiday (Slovene: Prešernov dan, slovenski kulturni praznik), is a public holiday celebrated in Slovenia on 8 February. It is marking the anniversary of the death of the Slovene national poet France Prešeren on 8 February 1849 and is the celebration of the Slovenian culture. It was established in 1945 to raise the cultural consciousness and the self-confidence of the Slovene nation, and declared a work-free day in 1991. On February 7, the eve of the holiday, the Prešeren Awards and the Prešeren Fund Awards, the highest Slovenian recognitions for cultural achievements, are conferred. Prešeren Day continues to be one of the most widely celebrated Slovene holidays. It is not only celebrated in Slovenia, but by Slovene communities all around the world.

Prešeren House

The Prešeren House (traditional Slovene oeconym pr' Ribču) is a house in the village of Vrba in the Municipality of Žirovnica in Slovenia. It is the house where the Slovene poet France Prešeren was born in 1800. The Slovene theologian and archbishop Anton Vovk was also born in the same house in 1900. The house is a good example of an Upper Carniolan farmhouse.

Since 1939, it has housed a small museum collection with furnishings from the poet’s time.It was originally a 16th-century wooden building with a stone built cellar. It was heavily damaged and rebuilt after a fire in 1856. It is mainly due to the efforts of Fran Saleški Finžgar that the house was turned into a museum. It is fitted with 19th-century furnishings. Of the original furniture from Prešeren's time, the benches in the hallway and the main room, a wooden chest from 1837, and the actual cradle in which France Prešeren is alleged to have been rocked to sleep as a baby are preserved and displayed in the museum. In 1985, a section with a collection of books was added to the museum and includes translations of Prešeren's poems into various languages, various editions of his poems, and books about his life and work. The museum was opened to the public on 21 May 1939.

In 1940, the house and the village were filmed for the black and white sound documentary O, Vrba. It was directed by Mario Förster and produced in 1941. Due to the cultural silence, it was published only in 1945. The house was presented by Finžgar, which is a rare recording of his voice. Due to the news about the German assault on Poland the film has a threatening atmosphere created by clouds moving over the Karawanks mountain range.The house and nearby St. Mark's Church are on the Cultural Heritage Route, a trail through the villages of the Municipality of Žirovnica. In January 2011, the house, St. Mark's Church, and the linden tree in the centre of the village were proclaimed cultural monuments of national importance by the Government of Slovenia.

Prešeren Monument (Ljubljana)

The Prešeren Monument in Ljubljana (Slovene: Prešernov spomenik), also Prešeren Statue in Ljubljana, is a late Historicist bronze statue of the Slovene national poet France Prešeren in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. It stands in the eastern side of Prešeren Square, in front of the Central Pharmacy Building in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. It is among the best-known Slovenian monuments.

Prešeren Square

Prešeren Square (Slovene: Prešernov trg) is the central square in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. It is part of the old town's pedestrian zone and a major meeting point, where festivals, Ljubljana carnival, concerts, sports, political, and protest events take place. It was renovated in 2007.

St. Mark's Church (Vrba)

St. Mark's Church (cerkev svetega Marka) is a small church on the outskirts of the village of Vrba in Upper Carniola in Slovenia. Though it is a small and simple church, it has achieved near mythical status in Slovenia, after it was mentioned in the sonnet O Vrba by Slovene national poet France Prešeren. Though it is only mentioned in the last verse of this single sonnet, it has come to symbolise homeliness and safety to which one can turn when bitterness and disappointment over having followed one's destiny to foreign lands becomes too much to bear. In January 2011, it was proclaimed cultural monument of national importance by the Government of Slovenia.

The Baptism on the Savica

The Baptism on the Savica (Slovene: Krst pri Savici) is a long two-part epic-lyric poem written by the Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren. According to the literary historian Marko Juvan, the work may be considered the Slovene national epic. It is a narration about a hero and the woman he loves in the time of violent Christianisation of the predecessors of the Slovenes.

The Water Man

The Water Man (Slovene: Povodni mož) was the first Slovene ballad. It was written in the spring of 1826 by the Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren and was a narration about Urška, a flirt from Ljubljana who ended up in the hands of a handsome man who happened to be a vodyanoy (povodni mož). The poem was based on a story from The Glory of Carniola about a dance at Old Square in Ljubljana in July 1547, when Urška Šefer was enchanted by a vodyanoy and pulled into the Ljubljanica. Prešeren wrote it due to his unfulfilled love for Zalika Dolenc. In the first publication of the poem, Urška was named Zalika. Later, in Prešeren's Poems (1847), she was named Urška.

Town Square (Ljubljana)

Town Square (Slovene: Mestni trg) is a major square in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Ljubljana Town Hall is located at the square. In front of Town Hall stands a copy of the Robba Fountain. Near the square, at Cyril and Methodius Square, stands Ljubljana Cathedral. Opposite Town Hall is the Krisper House, where Julija Primic, the inspiration of the Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren, was born in 1816. The composer Gustav Mahler lived in the house from 1881 to 1882, when he worked as a conductor at the Carniolan Provincial Theatre at Congress Square.

Vrba, Žirovnica

Vrba (pronounced [ˈʋəɾba]) is one of ten villages in the Municipality of Žirovnica in the Upper Carniolan region of Slovenia. It was first mentioned in written sources from 1247 and is a typical example of a compact Alpine village. According to the 2002 census, it has a population of 196. The Slovene national poet France Prešeren, who was born in the village, dedicated it the sonnet "O Vrba", the first of his Sonnets of Misfortune.


"Zdravljica" (Slovene pronunciation: [zdɾau̯ˈljiːtsa]; English: "A Toast") is a carmen figuratum poem by the 19th-century Romantic Slovene poet France Prešeren, inspired by the ideals of Liberté, égalité, fraternité. It was written in 1844 and published with some changes in 1848. Four years after it was written, Slovenes living within Habsburg Empire interpreted the poem in spirit of the 1848 March Revolution as political promotion of the idea of a united Slovenia. In it, the poet also declares his belief in a free-thinking Slovene and Slavic political awareness. In the late 1980s, it was adopted as the national anthem of Slovenia.

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Poems by France Prešeren

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