Serbian literature

Serbian literature refers to literature written in Serbian and/or in Serbia.

The history of Serbian literature begins with theological works from the 10th- and 11th centuries, developing in the 13th century by Saint Sava and his disciples. With the fall of Serbia and neighbouring countries in the 15th century, there is a gap in the literary history, it is briefly revived in the 18th century by writers in Vojvodina, then under Austro-Hungarian rule. Serbia gains independence following the Serbian Revolution (1804–1815) and Serbian literature has since prospered.

Medieval literature

Early modern period

Post-Medieval Serbian literature was dominated by folk songs and epics passed orally from generation to generation. Historic events, such as the "Battle of Kosovo" (Serbian: Бој на Косову / Boj na Kosovu) in the 14th century play a major role in the development of the Serbian epic poetry. The epic and lyrical poetry, the drama, and the prose of every class, all alike sound those notes, and the melody is triumphant or despairing according to the period of the nation's struggles against its many invaders. Less perhaps than any other European literature has Serbian literature been influenced by the literature of other lands. It mirrors throughout the simple, unsophisticated feeling and thoughts of men and women who love their country wholly, sincerely, faithfully, and are ready to lay down their lives to preserve its freedom. Here, if ever, the soul of a people is revealed in its most challenging time in history while attempting to extricate itself from centuries of Eastern (Turkish) and Western (Austrian, Hungarian, Venetian) oppression.

Modern period


See also: Baroque

Serbian literature in Vojvodina continued building onto Medieval tradition, influenced by Old Serbian, Russian baroque and Serbian baroque of Vojvodina, which culminated in the Slavonic-Serbian language. Most important authors of the time are Dimitrije Ljubavić, Đorđe Branković, Vasilije III Petrović-Njegoš, Gavril Stefanović Venclović, Mojsije Putnik, Pavle Julinac, Jovan Rajić, Zaharije Orfelin, and many others.


See also: Romantism

Before the start of a fully established Romanticism concomitant with the Revolutions of 1848, some Romanticist ideas (e.g. the usage of national language to rally for national unification of all classes) were developing, especially among monastic clergy in Vojvodina. The most prominent representative of that is Dositej Obradović, who gave up his monastic vows and left for decades of wandering, occasionally studying, teaching, or working in the cultural field in countries as variegated as Russia, England, Germany, Albania, Ottoman Turkey and Italy, and ending up as a Minister of Education in the Principality of Serbia.

One of the first countries to win independence from the Ottoman Empire, the Serbian independence movement sparked the first works of modern Serbian literature. Most notably Petar II Petrović Njegoš and his Mountain Wreath of 1847, represent a cornerstone of the Serbian epic, which was based on the rhythms of the folk songs.

Furthermore, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, an acquaintance of J. W. von Goethe, became the first person to collect folk songs and epics and to publish them in a book. Vuk Karadžić is regarded as the premier Serbian philologist, who together with Đuro Daničić played a major role in reforming the modern Serbian language.


In the 20th century, Serbian literature flourished and a myriad of young and talented writers appeared.

The most well known authors are Ivo Andrić, Miloš Crnjanski, Meša Selimović, Borislav Pekić, Branko Miljković, Danilo Kiš, Milorad Pavić, David Albahari, Miodrag Bulatović, Igor Marojević, Miroslav Josić Višnjić, Dobrica Ćosić, Zoran Živković, Vladimir Arsenijević, Vladislav Bajac and many others. Jelena Dimitrijević and Isidora Sekulić are two early twentieth century women writers. Svetlana Velmar-Janković and Gordana Kuić are the best known female novelists in Serbia today.

Milorad Pavić is perhaps the most widely acclaimed Serbian author today, most notably for his Dictionary of the Khazars (Хазарски речник / Hazarski rečnik), which has been translated into 24 languages.



Main article: Serbian poetry

Notable works

English translations of some of the important pieces of modern Serbian literature

See also



    Wikimedia Commons has media related to Serbian literature.
    Wikisource has original text related to this article:
    This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/9/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.