Vanessa Redgrave
Stane Sever


1836   A year of doubt and searching, the appearance of Ana Jelovšek  
fter a few years of intensive creativity, there appears a pause in Prešeren's work. From some poems, for example, the ballad Ribič (The Fisherman), we can sense that the poet has given up his hope that his love for Julija will ever be fulfilled. In his creative life, he became interested in Slovene folk songs and the oral tradition, whilst in his love life, Ana Jelovšek, the young nanny at the Crobath's, appears on the scene.

  The Polish aristocrat and intellectual, Emil Korytko, had been exiled by the Austrian authorities to Ljubljana because of his revolutionary ideas. Prešeren met the young Pole whilst visiting the home of his employer, Dr Crobath, where the exile first lived. The two men were kindred spirits and became genuine friends. Prešeren, who was still keenly missing Čop's extensive knowledge and intellectual depth, finally found in Korytko someone he could talk to. They taught each other their mother tongues; Prešeren translated, with Korytko's help, the sonnet Resygnacja, written by the famous Polish poet Mickiewicz. The young Pole was full of vitality and plans he could not realise because of his exile. When Prešeren introduced him to the rich Slovene folk tradition, Korytko found a new goal. He started writing down folk songs, travelled around the countryside, collecting various folk literature, and Prešeren helped him. Unfortunately this enthusiastic joint project was soon halted by death; when the collection of folk songs was ready to be printed, Korytko became ill and died soon after. Ironically, at the time of his death, a decree reached Ljubljana, allowing him to return to Poland. Prešeren came face to face with death on a number of occasions around that time; his father died, as did his uncle Jakob, as well as the priest who was temporarily in charge of the hilltop church of Šmarna gora, where the poet regularly went on outings with his Ljubljana friends. In the autumn of 1839, Andrej Smole, the poet's friend and contemporary from his youth, returned to his old friends after many years of living and travelling abroad. Smole spent his last years at Prežek Castle in Dolenjsko, where Prešeren visited him on a number of occasions. Smole was physically weak on his return to Ljubljana, but his spirit was still fresh; he persuaded Prešeren to take part in the setting up of a Slovene newspaper and in publishing works of literature. Together they published Vodnik's poems and Linhart's Matiček, but the newspaper did not appear. The censor's office did not allow it, which led the rebellious Smole to demand an audience with the Emperor in Vienna. But before he managed to set foot in court, he had a stroke during the celebration of his name-day. As if Prešeren had not had enough grief already, Smole died literally in his arms.

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