restricted access JURIĆ, Marija (1873–1957)
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195 JURIĆ, Marija (1873–1957) Croatian novelist and feminist; one of the first woman political journalists in Southeast Europe (1896–1910); editor of Ženski list (Woman’s magazine) (1925–1938) and Hrvatica (Croatian woman) (1938–1940); founder of the Kolo radnih žena (Working Women’s Circle, 1897) and leader of the first women’s demonstrations in Zagreb (1903). Pseudonym: Zagorka. Marija Jurić, known by her pseudonym ‘Zagorka,’ was born on 2 March 1873 on the Negovac estate near the city of Križevci . She was given the name Marianna and baptized in a Roman Catholic Church on 3 March 1873. Her mother, Josipa Domin, and father, Ivan Jurić (data unknown), were wealthy and had three children besides Marija: two sons (names and data unknown) and a daughter, Dragica (1879– 1896), who died of tuberculosis. Marija Jurić spent her childhood in the Zagorje region of Croatia, where her father owned the Golubovec estate (near the city of Varaždin) and managed Šanjugovo, the estate of Baron Geza Rauch. Marija attended three different elementary schools: one at Rauch’s manor house, another in the city of Varaždin and the third at the Sisters of Charity Convent in Zagreb. Marija was both a precocious child and an excellent student , and her father planned to send her to university in Switzerland (with Rauch’s financial support). Her mother emphatically opposed this proposal, protesting that she would “never allow [Marija] to drag herself around some institution of higher education where she would be exposed to men” and withdrew Marija from school in her final year (Lasić 1986, 34). The Jurić household was a turbulent one and Marija’s childhood often violent; during the constant arguments and physical fights between her parents she would often run away from home, seeking consolation and protection from the local people of the village. Marija Jurić exhibited literary talent, a deep sense of social justice and a ‘revolutionary nature’ at an early age. At twelve, she was reprimanded for her first literary endeavor: Samostanske novine (Convent newspaper), in which she set down folk stories and legends. At the age of eighteen, she established an amateur theater company with her cousin and, in 1891, a school newspaper: Zagorsko proljeće (Zagorje spring). Her first (and male) pseudonym as editor was ‘M. Jurica Zagorski.’ 196 Prevented from continuing her education, Marija Jurić expressed ambitions to become an actress. To ‘discipline’ their unruly daughter, Marija’s parents married her off for a large dowry to one Lajos Nagy (it is not known whether that was his real name), a bachelor eighteen years her senior. The marriage took place towards the end of 1891, most probably in Varaždin. In early 1892, the newly-weds left Croatia and went to live in Szombathely, a provincial Hungarian town. Once married, Jurić described feeling as though she was being “subjected to a moral inquisition” (Prohaska 1921, 267). She regarded the national chauvinism of her Hungarian husband negatively, but nonetheless learned the language of ‘her colonizer’ and even completed a course in telegraphy. Throughout her marriage, she continued to write secretly in the small room of her attic. Later, in her memoirs, Jurić described in detail the following period of her life: from escaping her husband in 1895 to becoming a contributor to the newspaper Obzor (Horizon) in the October of 1896. In her autobiographical Kamen na cesti (A stone on the road, 1937–1939), the fictional heroine commits suicide in circumstances strikingly similar to those of Jurić during this episode of her life. Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, an owner of the newspaper Obzor, supported Jurić’s move into journalism but Obzor’s editor-in-chief, Šime Mazzura, declared that a “woman in the editorial offices” was a “cultural and moral scandal,” complaining that “not even in London, where suffragettes drag officers through the streets, do women edit political news” (Lasić 1986, 68). Mazzura did not hide his misogyny and antifeminist sentiments and, in the years to come, attached labels to Jurić that would follow her to her grave: “a crone with no name or reputation, a cowgirl from Zagorje and, what’s more, infected with a socialist mentality and feminist notions” (Lasić 1986, 69). It was obvious that Jurić was being, as she put it later, “treated everywhere with distrust and disdain because a woman in politics in the nineteenth century was seen in the same way as a woman in a public house. And I stood in the front lines, spreading feminism and awakening...


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