Vanessa Redgrave
Stane Sever


1824-27   First attempts at writing poetry  
rešeren's first poetic attempts were made in 1824. He wrote a rhyming student joke to comfort one of his school friends who was unhappily in love, entitled Zarjovena d'vičica (A Rusty Virgin). Soon after, more serious poems appeared, such as Povodni mož (The River Man), Lažnivi pratkarji (The Lying Almanac-Makers) and a translation of Bürger's poem Lenora. He wrote a whole notebook full of other 'Carniolan' poems, but after he had them reviewed by Jernej Kopitar, he destroyed all but the three mentioned. Kopitar, as a court librarian and censor, was then the unquestionable authority; after reading Prešeren's poems, he advised the poet to leave them for a few years and then revise them. Some literary historians have wondered whether this unfavourable opinion from Kopitar set back the beginning of Slovene secular poetry by a number of years. Whatever, Prešeren the poet appeared publicly for the first time relatively late, in 1827, when he published the poem Dekletom (To Girls) in Ilirski list. In it, he rebukes the proud Zalika, the daughter of the owner of the Dolenc inn, which Prešeren often visited with his friend Andrej Smole. Prešeren was strongly attracted to Zalika, but she showed no interest in him; this became the pattern of the poet's romantic life. Prešeren experienced considerable upheavals in his life at that time; conditions in his home village in particular started getting increasingly complicated. The family farm was falling apart, so his father was forced to hand it over to his son-in-law, Jože Vovk, a rather rough character. He soon introduced his own kind of order to pri Ribičevih; even the poet's mother and father soon had to leave. France was completely overlooked in the legacy, and his other sisters and brother received almost nothing. Prešeren experienced this as a sort of exclusion from the family. He was quite upset by what occurred, but at the same time was strengthened by it. He finished his studies more quickly and graduated in the spring of 1828. He became a 'doctor of law', and before returning to Carniola, he made a rare longer visit abroad. With his protégé, Count Emanuel, he went to Lysice in Moravia, where he stayed for a few months, and then returned to Ljubljana. To mark the occasion he was given a gold watch, the only possession he was able to bequeath to his two children.

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