A Visionary, a Victim and a Co-Traveller. Juraj Križanić in the Literary Writings of Ivan Golub

Mario Kolar, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Gordana Tkalec, University North, Department of Communicology, Media and Journalism

Juraj Križanić was a Croatian Catholic priest and polyhistor who believed all the Slavic nations belonged to a single ethnic family of peoples and wished for unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Slavs. In this paper, the life and traits of Juraj Križanić are observed through the prism of Ivan Golub who dedicated most of his opus to him, both in the literary and academic sense of the word. Križanić was not only a topic of scholarly interest for Golub but also a literary inspiration. He wrote an epic poem Strastni život (A Life of Passion), and a number of lyrical poems dedicated to him, one of which, Svi su tokovi jedno (All Streams are One) became famous for the fact that it was set to music. Golub also wrote a literary biography, Križanić, and a screenplay used in a documentary film, Svi odlasci Jurja Križanića (All the Departures of Juraj Križanić). Golub’s interest in Križanić, and the nature of his style that blends documentary elements and fictitious ones, are closely examined.

Juraj Križanić (1618–1683) was a famous and unique character who lived during the period of the European Baroque. This Croatian Catholic priest and a polyhistorian1 was ahead of his times primarily due to his proto-ecumenic ideas. He believed all the Slavic nations to pertain to a single ethnic family of peoples and dreamed of unity between the Catholic and the Orthodox Slavs. He also nurtured hopes for their political unity and saw Russia as a potential helper to other Slavs on their path to liberation from foreign, mainly Turkish or German, occupation (Golub 1993a). To serve such a cause, he even un-dertook the task of creating a common Slavic language (Golub 1993b). Inspired by such ideas, Križanić defied the will of Pope Alexander vii and took off for Moscow, but due to somewhat unclear circumstances, ended up exiled in Tobolsk, Siberia, where he spent 15 years of his life. During that time, he completed or initiated work on some of his most important manuscripts in different areas of human thought (economy, politics, theology, linguistics, musicology, history)2.The varied, extensive, and visionary written opus, as well as the deeds of Juraj Križanić, represent a heritage that is of interest to scholars from different fields of study3. He was particularly noticed by Russian and Croatian researchers, and, more recently, by a Croatian Catholic priest, theologist, and a man of letters, Ivan Golub (1930–2018)4. Golub’s interest in Križanić dates from the days of his youth when he still attended the so-called gymnasium. In 1963, Golub obtained his doctoral degree of Križanić’s (ecumenic) ecclesiology at the Pontifical Gregorian University (Golub 1964) and continued to take interest in differ-ent aspects of Križanić’s life until his death.

His first book on Križanić was dedicated to Križanić’s work in musicolog y (Golub 1981), and his book on Križanić’s ideas on Slavism (Golub 1983a, English translation Golub 1993a) received a lot of attention. His third book on Križanić encompassed a lot of archival material from the Vatican, Rome, Moscow, Madrid, and Copenhagen, accompanied by commentary and interpretation (1983b). Besides the aforementioned books, Golub also published some fifty articles on various Križanić’s activities, which were published in international proceedings and journals, in different languages5.He also held lectures at prestigious international universities (Yale, Columbia, Harvard, Heidelberg, Vienna, Milan, etc.), as well as at the Russian Academy of Science in Leningrad (1981), becoming the first Catholic priest after the October Revolution to do so. He was affiliated with the Catholic Faculty of Theolog y in Zagreb where he lectured on Križanić, but he also held a position at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome where he engaged in the same field of interest. The array of activities he engaged in to keep the memory of his famous co-national alive also included the organization of conferences on Križanić, as well as active publishing of Križanić’s work and the work of other authors on Križanić. He also undertook initiatives to ensure public display of memorial tablets and moments, etc. All this earned him the title of one of the most relevant Croatian ‘Križanićologists’ of the contemporary period (Banac 1991: 117, Paščenko 2015: 25). However, Križanić was not only a topic of scientific interest for Golub but also a literary inspiration. Golub wrote an epic poem, entitled Strastni život (‘A Life of Passion’, Golub 1983c), several lyrical poemsdedicated to Križanić, and a libretto, Svi su tokovi jedno (‘All the Flows are One’, Golub 1986). He also wrote a literary biography, Križanić (Golub 1987) and a screenplay used in the documentary film Svi odlasci Jurja Križanića (‘All the Departures of Juraj Križanić’, Golub 1997). He also referred to Križanić in numerous essays, and even in his autobiography Običan čovjek (‘An Ordinary Man’, Golub 2014). This paper will target that part of Golub’s opus, with special emphasis on the relations between the documentary and fictional representation, i.e. on the objective and subjective techniques that Golub used in his depiction of the historical character.

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