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The jewel of Croatian Baroque literature

The Zrinski family, one of the oldest noble families of medieval Croatia, as well as the Zrinski-Frankopan conspiracy, have been written about by many historians, literary writers and specialists in other fields. In all of these writings Ana Katarina Zrinski features as the central character and this decisive and remarkable woman remained one of the most distinguished persons in the Croatian history.

Ana Katarina Zrinski, the sister of Fran Krsto Frankopan, who in 1641 became wife of Petar Zrinski, was born in 1625 in Bosiljevo. She was the greatest female writer of 17th century Croatian literature and she was also active in the diplomatic affairs of that time. She is known as the first woman in the region of Banska Hrvatska who wrote many translations, but also wrote her own texts.

Putni tovaruš or Prijatelj na putu, her only book which was published during her life (Venice, 1661) is a book of highly accentuated religious devotion from the period of the Croatian Baroque literature. It is assumed that the book was translated from German. In the foreword the author addresses the entire Croatian people and writes about the need for publishing books in the Croatian language. The foreword is followed by the poem originally written by Ana Katarina Zrinski Vsakom onom, ki štal bude ove knjižnice, which expresses thoughts similar to those in the foreword. The book contains prayers to various saints, litanies, poetic translations of penitential psalms, and other texts of religious devotion. These prose prayers are full of concern for life, admonishing the reader to foster a good relationship with other humans and with God. Their language originates in the area of Ozalj, which brought together the Kajkavian, Chakavian and Shtokavian dialects, and is conveyed in what the people in this area thought to be the standard language. The prayer-book was decorated by five high-quality copper engravings. It was very popular among believers and it was republished in Ljubljana in 1687 and 1715.

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(D.H., 23.11.2012)