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Sunday, 4 May 2014

Did You Know That Famous Writers Went To Croatia?...

I was going touch upon some recent sports related topics, with Croatian women recently winning gold and other medals at the European Taekwondo championships, gold in Basketball, and a few other sporting events, but I'm kind of sports-ed out, actually bored of ball kicking, ball bouncing and ball throwing and dropping altogether. (same ol' ball goes in, ball goes out, ball bounces around, look at the ball, ball goes up, ball goes down, ball gets dropped and thrown around, look at the ball, pick up the ball, ball dance time, time for a new ball, repeat...)

I like to keep it fresh and consistently eclectic. So I'm just quickly throwing in this very short piece of information because I just came across some related news today. Most people who have read classic books and works of literature will immediately recognize the names below and be very familiar with them. Perhaps even read them in school as part of English/Literature class. However, they probably don't know that the authors also spent time in Croatia, some of them even writing today's well known works while they were there. Yep, it's true. Anyway, you might find this interesting.......


Where great writers go in Croatia...


Did Agatha Christie find inspiration for a murder mystery in Croatia? She had the opportunity when she visited Dubrovnik and Split. The 'queen of crime' spent her second honeymoon in Dubrovnik and Split, where every footstep on the cobblestone streets echoes with the promise of a story untold.

Before the books, Agatha Christie as a girl, date unknown. Photo Wikipedia.

Vladimir Nabokov experienced Croatia at a younger age. Throughout his childhood, it was a period of his life he referred to as nothing less than “perfect,” Nabokov spent his summers in Opatija and surrounding Kvarner Bay. Surely meanderings along the promenades and parks in the Croatian Riviera added cherished charm to the ideal that was his youth.

Vladimir Nabokov.

Jules Verne never visited Pazin,in the Istra peninsula region of Croatia, but the famous writer who also popularized the science-fiction genre, used detailed descriptions of Pazin, the Castle and the nearby Pazinska Jama cave from the travel book of his compatriot Charles Yriarte's 'Coasts of the Adriatic Sea', and he received photographs from the city's mayor. The biggest Istrian stream Pazinčica makes it's flow through the underground all the way to the valley of the river Raša..."Perhaps it continues it's flow even to reach the gulf of Lim", as he once wrote in his Mathias Sandorf. Such remarkable scenery has inspired many other writers also (Nazor, Dante, Yriarte…)

Statue of Jules Verne in Pazin. Image:

One can’t help but envy the Austro-Hungarian officers to whom James Joyce taught English in Pula from 1904-1905. Pula and other parts of the Croatian crown lands were within the Austro-Hungarian empire at that time, and the political winds were approaching a new trialism, yet evolving political circumstances and political winds could not dissuade James Joyce from enjoying the serenity and peace in this tucked away corner of Europe, away from the hustling and whirling rush of humanity in other nearby metropolises. His book "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' was refused in Dublin, and the book’s rejection angered Joyce immensely. Feeling censored, he exiled himself from Ireland, hoping to find a better welcome for his ideas on the continent. He preferred for a time to take a low paying teachers job in Pula, and in his spare time the genesis of his Ulysses was born.

Did the local inhabitants sense how gifted a genius they were given privy to? Many Croatian writers, painters and other artists also frequented these same locations, (Tomislav Krizman did a number of sketches and paintings of Pula in the early 20th century), was there something inspiring for writers in this little known place nestled along the Adriatic coast? A quote from his book Ulysses: “Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”  Commemorating Joyce in Pula is a bronze seated statue in a little café that he frequented by the building where he taught.

Images of James Joyce statue in Pula: Images:, and

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