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Antun Gustav Matoš

Oct 9th 2010 at 1:56 PM

Antun Gustav Matoš (June 13, 1873 - March 17, 1914) was a Croatian poet, short story writer, journalist, essayist and travelogue writer. He is considered the champion of Croatian modernist literature, opening Croatia to the currents of European modernism, and one of the greatest Croatian literary figures of all time.

Matoš is the central figure of Croatian modernism (moderna), a radical change in Croatian literature under European influences, as it quickly absorbed contemporary tendencies and styles such as Symbolism, modernism or impressionism, relying on French literary heritage from Baudelaire to Mallarmé, Barres and Huysmans. Estheticism and artistic norms became the primary value criterion. National and social activism, which used to be virtually the only measuring stick, became only a part of a wider mission of Croatian writers. After Matoš, the writers were not expected to create art for propaganda purposes (except during communism).

He entered into Croatian literature in 1892 with a short story called Moć savjesti (The Power of Conscience). Its publication is considered the start of Croatian moderna. He wrote down his thoughts on literary creation and role models on several occasions. As for short story writers, I have the greatest affection for Poe's genius and the superior, concise precision of Merimée and the natural feel of Maupassant's satire, he told his friend Milan Ogrizović in a letter.

Works

Poems: collected poetry (posthumous)

Short stories

  • Iverje (Fragments, 1899)
  • Novo iverje (New Fragments, 1900)
  • Umorne priče (Tired Tales,1909)

Essays

  • Ogledi (Essays, 1905)
  • Vidici i putovi (Horizons and Roads, 1907)
  • Naši ljudi i krajevi (Our People and Lands, 1910)
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