Basic information
Original title:
Izhodišča slovenske pripovedne proze
1 August 2018–31 July 2020
The Bases of Slovenian Narrative Prose

The project will examine and expand the currently established views on the developments that led to the formation of the first Slovenian narrative prose. Slovenian literary history clearly ascribes the role of the first Slovenian narrative to Janez Cigler’s 1836 story Sreča v nesreči (Fortune in Misfortune). Studies of the literary development that led to the formation of the first Slovenian narrative prose as important bases examined Tobia Lionelli’s Baroque rhetorical prose from the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century, hagiographies (the lives of saints), which were published in Slovenian by Franc Veriti approximately a decade before the first Slovenian narrative, and an allegorical narrative by this same author. However, the greatest emphasis is on the direct connection between the Slovenian translations or adaptations of narratives by the Bavarian writer Christoph von Schmid, especially his story about Saint Eustace, and Cigler’s Sreča v nesreči. Hence, according to some beliefs, the models for the first Slovenian narrative should be sought, via the influence of Eustachius, directly in the European novel of late antiquity or its early Christian stage, whereas Slovenian devotional literature is believed to be irrelevant for its development.

New questions and perspectives in relation to the development of Slovenian narrative prose have arisen due to the discovery of Slovenian manuscripts that were unknown until very recently. By taking into account new manuscript material that in principle has not been taken into consideration yet, the project will trace the development of narratives and narrative elements from the first example of Slovenian devotional or ascetic-narrative literature in manuscript form, Šula tiga premišluvana (The School of Deliberation), written in the first half of the seventeenth century, via the newly discovered manuscript of the same genre from the end of the eighteenth century (the Poljane manuscript), followed by manuscript hagiographies titled Dober legent teh suetnikov (The Good Legend of the Saints) from the mid-eighteenth century, Franc Veriti’s collection Življenja svetnikov (The Lives of the Saints) from the early nineteenth century, and the religious rhetorical prose by Tobia Lionelli from the baroque period, to the direct predecessors of the first Slovenian narrative: Franc Veriti’s allegorical narrative Popotnik široke inu vozke poti (The Traveler on the Wide and Narrow Paths) from 1828 and the Slovenian translations or adaptations of Christoph von Schmid’s narratives from the 1820s and especially 1830s. The text corpus will be rounded off by the first Slovenian narrative, Sreča v nesreči.

To date, the comparative analyses of these works, as far as they have been taken into account, have largely highlighted the structures and themes typical of devotional literature (developing a lesson from a story, homiletic elements, etc.). This project, on the other hand, will focus on narrative elements and any other elements of literariness. The analysis of narrative elements will presumably show a continuity in the development of Slovenian narrative prose all the way from the Slovenian narrative-ascetic texts, rhetorical prose, and hagiographies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the devotional-educational and allegorical texts and the first Slovenian secular narrative, Sreča v nesreči. The project will also add to the body of research on the European literary background of literature that has been unknown or underresearched to date.

The project’s specific added value will consist in the quantitative and statistical analyses carried out using stylometric software. The findings of these analyses will be connected with the findings of the first part of the project, which will reveal new aspects of interpretation and intertextual connections.

Project manager at ZRC

Funded by

Slovenian Research Agency