Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Slovenia Anthem Lyricist

A Toast (Slovene: Zdravljica) is a famous poem by France Prešeren. It was written in 1844 and has been Slovenia's national anthem since September 27, 1989. The most famous is its 7th stanza, for which Stanko Premrl composed a choral composition with the same name. Only the text of the 7th stanza comprises the anthem of Slovenia. In form, the poem is a carmen figuratum because the shape of each stanza resembles a wine cup.

France Prešeren (3 December 1800 – 8 February 1849) was a Slovene Romantic poet. He is considered the Slovene national poet. Although he was not a particularly prolific author, he inspired virtually all Slovene literature thereafter.

Today, Prešeren is still considered one of the leading poets of Slovenian 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 slow after his death. It was not before 1866 that a real breakthrough in the reception of his role in Slovenian 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 Slovenian 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 Slovene language was never endangered.

Prešeren's legacy in Slovenian culture is enormous. He is generally regarded as the national poet. In 1905, his monument was placed in the central square in Ljubljana, now called Prešeren Square. By the early 1920s, all his surviving work had been cataloged 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 1944, the anniversary of his death, called Prešeren Day, was declared as the Slovenian Cultural Holiday. In 1990, the seventh stanza of his Zdravljica was declared the national anthem of Slovenia, replacing the old Naprej zastava slave. In 1992, his effigy was portrayed on the Slovenian 1000 tolar banknote, and since 2007 his image is on the Slovenian two-euro coin. The highest Slovenian prize for artistic achievements, the Prešeren Award, is named after him.