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185 JARNEVIĆ, Dragojla (1812–1875) Croatian diarist, poet, writer and teacher; prominent figure in the ‘Illyrian revival’ (the nineteenth-century Croatian national movement). Dragojla Jarnević was born on 4 January 1812, in the prosperous merchant town of Karlovac (also known in German as Karlstadt), a military center fifty km southwest of Zagreb, close to the Habsburg military border. She was baptized in the Catholic Church as Carolina and also had a nickname, Lina, but following the rise of the Illyrian movement and the vogue for ‘Croatizing’ personal names, she later used the Croatian version of her name, Dragojla. Her father, Janko Jarnević (1753– 1819), was a hardware tradesman from a bourgeois family—a man of strong patriotic sentiments. When he died, he left his wife and six children considerable wealth. Dragojla’s mother, Ana (born Mlinac, 1784– 1843), was a housewife with no experience in trade or farming; as a widow, she struggled to manage finances without much success and the family grew impoverished. Ana could not breastfeed Dragojla (unlike the rest of the children) and withdrew her love. Dragojla thus became her father’s darling and his death was an immense loss for the girl. She attended the German language primary school for girls in Karlovac and by the age of twelve had completed her formal education. Of her five siblings (two older sisters, one younger sister and two younger brothers ), Dragojla Jarnević thought of herself as having received the worst health but the best intellect: “Nature wished to compensate the spirit for what it refused to the body” (in Lukšić, ed. 2000, 9). Jarnević was a charming girl with beautiful brown hair and young men loved her company, but she suffered from nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting) up until her forties. This problem provoked much affliction in her childhood and a fear of rejection by men in adult life. It was one of the reasons, together with her sense of superiority, for her decision never to marry and her dedication to intellectual pursuits . Determined to combat her disability and at great cost to her health, she spent most of her nights reading and writing—having devoted herself to housework and professional sewing by day. At the age of 21, Jarnević fell deeply in love with printer Franz Redinger, a Moravian German from Brün. Knowing that Redinger had a fiancée back 186 home, Jarnević stepped back from a full-blown affair, but she continued to treasure memories of Redinger throughout her life, comparing subsequent lovers to the romantic idealization of Redinger she had built for herself. Under the influence of German romantic literature, Jarnević wrote her first poem— in German—in 1830. On New Year’s Day 1833, she began keeping a diary and continued to do so for 41 years, right up until her death. The first eight years of her diary were originally written in German, the language of culture and everyday communication among the Croatian middle-class prior to the rise of the Croatian national movement (or the ‘Illyrian revival’) in 1830s Zagreb. Later, in 1872–73, Jarnević edited these early diary years herself, translating them into Croatian. In 1839, dissatisfied with provincial life, Jarnević went to Graz (Austria) to acquire knowledge of ladies fashion, or so she wrote in her diary (in Lukšić, ed. 2000, 114). There, she met the young Croatian poet Ivan Trnski (1819–1910), who stirred her patriotic feelings and urged her to write in Croatian. Jarnević’s first Croatian poem was published that same year (1839) in the national newspaper, Danicza horvatzka, slavonzka y dalmatinzka (The Croatian, Slavonian and Dalmatian morning star). In spite of having received a post in Venice to work as a governess for a noble family, she returned to her ‘homeland’ after fifteen months abroad, ready to devote herself to the national cause. Jarnević soon became known in Illyrian circles as the author of numerous romantic and patriotic poems (composed between 1839 and 1843). Her work seemed to respond to the nationalist call (to the ‘daughters of Illyria’) for women to abandon German literature and adopt a Croatian vernacular, educating their children in the national language and spirit. From her modest home in Karlovac, Jarnević kept in contact with leaders of the new national movement, as well as publishers. She publicly called for subscribers to put up the money for the publication of her stories, and was in this way able to publish her first collection, Domorodne poviesti (Patriotic stories, 1843). She became a...


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