Vanessa Redgrave
Stane Sever


1849-....   Recognition and fame  
is death marked the start of a new, much brighter era for Prešeren's public image. Janez Bleiweis, a canny politician, sensed that the poet's name might become famous one day, so he arranged a solemn funeral and organised the erection of a monument, with which the Slovene nation was supposed to honour Prešeren's memory. A story about the collecting of money for this monument is an excellent illustration of the then attitude to the poet, as well as the wider attributes of the Slovene character. In March and April 1849 the newspapers started publishing calls for voluntary contributions. The Slovene nation spent four years collecting the money, and 280 donors contributed a total of 626 goldinars. By comparison, around the same time, the Slovenes in Carniola collected 1955 goldinars in six months for a monument to the Croatian civil governor Jelačić. The Croatian governor was awarded this honour for his involvement in suppressing the March Revolution of 1848 and for returning Carniola to the unfavourable rule from Vienna, which the Slovenes felt to be alien to them. Now, the memory of Jelačić is very faint in Slovenia, and only a few know of Bleiweis, but Prešeren and his poetry are one of the firmest foundations of the self-confidence of the contemporary Slovene nation.

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