Berislav Majhut, Učiteljski fakultet, Zagreb, Hrvatska
Josip Kozarac (1858–1906) is considered to be one of the most important Slavonian and Croatian writers of Realism. However, the beginnings of his literary work written for children are seldom mentioned and even less frequently studied. Indeed, a few remarks about that part of Kozarac’s literary work disagree on which stories belong to The Tales of Grandfather Niko (Priče djeda Nike). Such an attitude towards what constitutes the corpus of Kozarac’s work under this title is closely linked to the issue of the affiliation of these stories to children’s literature. This study attempts to provide answers to two intertwined questions: first, do Priče djeda Nike (The Tales of Grandfather Niko) belong to children’s literature and second, what is the exact scope of the work known as Priče djeda Nike? Having established that Priče djeda Nike undoubtedly belong to children’s literature, we will try to find their place in the history of Croatian children’s literature. We will argue that this work represents a transitory form of narration between, on the one hand, moralistic stories (which we find in the very popular translations of the stories by German authors Christoph Schmid and Franz Hoffmann and their Croatian epigones) and, on the other, entrepreneurship narratives by Davorin Trstenjak, U radu je spas (Labor Will Save Us) from 1885 and Dragoslav Heiligstein, Zlatne ruke (Golden Hands) from 1930, which paved the way for socially engaged realistic novels, such as Mato Lovrak’s Vlak u snijegu (A Train in the Snow) published in 1933 and Družba Pere Kvržice (Pero Kvržica’s Gang) published in 1933, and Josip Pavičić’s Poletarci, published in 1937. The study will show that the number of stories published in the first monographic edition of Priče djeda Nike is different from the number of stories published in Pučke novine. The study also analyzes which stories Kozarac himself considered as those belonging to Priče djeda Nike.
Key words
moralistic tale; instructive narrative; instructive tale; children’s literature of the 19th century
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