The Space in Kolo gorah (1851) by Oto Šijaković

Anica Bilić
Our interpretation of Kolo gorah iliti pozdrav veseli prastaromu i veleslavnomu od Požege gradu i velenarodnim njegovim vilam, a composition in verse by Oto Šijaković (Ilok, 1823 – Bač, 1878), a Franciscan priest and poet, written and performed in 1851 in Požega and published in Zagreb in 1862, focuses on the space in which the action takes place. As pozdrav, a greeting, is part of social behavior, Kolo gorah is first analyzed as a speech act according to John Austin’s speech act theory. The analysis of the ideologemic aspect, with reference to Russian semiotic theorists, namely Lotman and Toporov, confirms that the landscape can be turned into a symbol and, as a literary space, it can express non-spatial relations and form social, political and ideological aspects of one’s worldview. Since the landscape in Kolo gorah is formed as an idealized and national space, the analysis is focused on the way this work fits into the literature of Croatian Romanticism and its role in national integration processes which took place in the 19th century. Being based on theories of nations and nationalism by Benedict Anderson, Eric Hobsbawm and Anthony D. Smith, the role of this work in the shaping of the national identity has been analyzed from the following thematic aspects: collective past, present and future, mutual space, mutual culture and national man. Although referring to concrete geographical locations and hills surrounding Požega, the literary space in Kolo gorah is idyllic and in it Oto Šijaković incorporates a historical and cultural dimension, political ideas and worldviews, and then spiritualizes it by introducing mythical creatures and perceiving it as part of God's announcement. In the shaping of the literary space, the author uses idealizations in the form of a glorious past, beautiful present and joyful future on the time axis, and in the form of positive people living in an ideal state and church community on the social axis.
Key words
Oto Šijaković; landscapes; literary space; national integration paradigm; romanticism
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