The Life and Legacy of Jovan Sterija Popovic: A Serbian Literary Pioneer 

 February 15, 2023

The Life and Legacy of Jovan Sterija Popovic: A Serbian Literary Pioneer

Serbian literature has been an abundant source of inspiration for generations of people all around the world. One of the finest contributors to Serbian literature, Jovan Sterija Popovic, is a distinguished Serbian writer, playwright, and literary theorist who made an indelible mark in the field of Serbian literature. Born in 1806, Sterija Popovic dedicated his life to literature and left a lasting legacy that has influenced many. In this blog post, let us explore the life and legacy of Jovan Sterija Popovic.

Early Life

Sterija Popovic was born on February 18, 1806, in the Serbian town of Vrsac. He belong to a middle-class family and his father was a prosperous trader during the time. Sterija Popovic was a precocious child from a very young age and was particularly interested in literature and the arts.

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Education and Early Career

Sterija Popovic’s literary career kicked off in earnest after he completed his studies at the Orthodox Theological School in Sremski Karlovci. After graduation, he moved to Belgrade, which was then the capital of Serbia, to teach at a high school. He became involved in literature and began writing poetry and proverbial plays.

A Distinct Style of Writing

Sterija Popovic is known for introducing a distinct style of writing to Serbian literature, which was full of humor and satire. His plays and literature were critical of the traditional Serbian social norms, habits, and behaviors. Sterija Popovic criticized the medieval Serbian social outlook, embracing the traditions of the modern, progressive bourgeoisie.

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The Legacy of Sterija Popovic

Sterija Popovic’s work influenced the development of the Serbian language and Serbian theatre. In 1828, he published the play “The Society of Litigation,” which would become a classic for the whole of Serbian literature. Sterija Popovic paved the way for the Serbian romantic period with his plays “Mija’s Game of Chess” and “Putujuce Pozoriste.”

Personal Life and Death

Sterija Popovic got married in 1834 to Emilija, the daughter of a prominent merchant family in Belgrade. They had three children together. Sterija Popovic passed away on March 31, 1856, in Vienna, where he had traveled for medical treatment.

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Works of Sterija Popovic

Sterija Popovic was a prolific writer, authoring numerous plays, poems, and essays. Some of his notable works include “The Society of Litigation,” “Mija’s Game of Chess,” “Putujuce Pozoriste,” and “Zla zena” (“The Evil Woman”). He also wrote literary critiques and essays, which reflected his views on Serbian literature and its development.

Cultural Significance of Sterija Popovic

Sterija Popovic is a cultural icon in Serbia and his literary contributions have helped shape the Serbian culture and language. His plays and writing continue to be relevant in modern Serbian literature, and his influence can be seen in the works of many contemporary Serbian writers.

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Legacy beyond Literature

Sterija Popovic’s legacy extends beyond literature. He played a significant role in the development of Serbian national consciousness and was a voice of the Serbian people during a time of political upheaval and change. His influence can be seen in the Serbian cultural, literary, and political landscape.

Recognition and Awards

Sterija Popovic was recognized for his contributions to the field of Serbian literature during his lifetime. He was awarded the Order of Saint Sava, the highest honor in Serbia, in 1847. The annual Sterijino pozorje theater festival in Novi Sad, Serbia is named after him, and it is one of the most prominent cultural events in the country.

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Conclusion

Jovan Sterija Popovic was an exceptional Serbian literary pioneer who left a lasting legacy and influence in Serbian culture and literature. His life and work are a constant reminder of the power of literature to shape and reflect society. Sterija Popovic set standards of literary excellence that have inspired and continue to inspire writers in Serbia and around the world.

FAQs

Q1. What were Sterija Popovic’s notable works?
A1. Sterija Popovic authored numerous plays, poems, and essays. Some of his notable works include “The Society of Litigation,” “Mija’s Game of Chess,” “Putujuce Pozoriste,” and “Zla zena” (“The Evil Woman”).

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Q2. What was Sterija Popovic’s style of writing?
A2. Sterija Popovic was known for introducing a style of writing to Serbian literature, which was full of humor and satire.

Q3. What was the cultural significance of Sterija Popovic?
A3. Sterija Popovic is a cultural icon in Serbia, and his literary contributions have helped shape the Serbian culture and language.

Q4. What was Sterija Popovic’s legacy beyond literature?
A4. Sterija Popovic played a significant role in the development of Serbian national consciousness and was a voice of the Serbian people during a time of political upheaval and change.

Q5. What awards did Sterija Popovic receive for his work?
A5. Sterija Popovic was awarded the Order of Saint Sava, the highest honor in Serbia, in 1847. The annual Sterijino pozorje theater festival in Novi Sad, Serbia is named after him, and it is one of the most prominent cultural events in the country.

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