The Day of the Croatian Book, which was celebrated on April 22nd in memory of Marko Marulićand his work of Judithon that day, has a special significance this year because it marks the 500th anniversary of the printing of this unique work of Croatian literature. The National and University Library in Zagreb keeps the second edition of Judith printed in 1522 in the collection of manuscripts and old books.
“Judita (Libar by Marko Marul Splićanininwhich the history of the st. widow Judit in versih harvacka is complex) ” which is also available within the digital collection portal of the National and University Library in Zagreb is the most significant work of Marulić. This is the first artistic epic of Croatian literature, published in Croatian , which is why Marulić earned the title of father of Croatian literature. It was completed in 1501 and printed in 1521. Marulić has seen three editions of his Judith. Having gained the status of an exemplary work of the Croatian epic of the 16th century and a lasting echo and reputation in the literary tradition, Judita, thanks to the epic processing of the Old Testament theme in the folk language, is an interesting phenomenon in the European Renaissance epica. It has been translated into English, Hungarian, Italian, French and Lithuanian and partly to Slovenian, Spanish and German.
For Croatian literature, Marulić’s work has an original meaning. In his historical journey, Judith and his other Croatian texts appear at a very sensitive moment of transition from late Medieval times to renaissance, in them he gathers the legacy of the past and adopts modern poetic concepts and in his own synthesis creates works that will remain an indispensable achievement and a permanently stimulating focal point for future centuries.
An exhibition is being prepared for this year’s Croatian Book Month to mark the 500th anniversary of Judith’s printing. Through Marulić’s creative path, the exhibition will present the second edition of Judith and other representative selections of materials from the Fund of the Collection of Manuscripts and Old Books of the National and University Library in Zagreb, which is connected with the life and work of Marko Marulić – from the first prints of his works and numerous editions – to translations over the centuries.
There is a multiple and multilayered connection and symbolism of the relationship between Marko Marulić and the National and University Library in Zagreb and all that it means in Croatian culture and history. Marko Marulić symbolizes Croatian written creativity and the Croatian word, and the National and University Library in Zagreb as a centuries-old guardian and treasury of Croatian book and Croatian written word, with its total fund, and especially the part that directly or indirectly refers to Marko Marulić, only confirms his privileged place in Croatian and European literature.
Thus, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, the National and University Library in Zagreb in 2018 digitized Marulić’s works from the fund of her Collection of Manuscripts and Old Books with the Digital Collection of Works of Marko Marulić. She presented these works to the public with a virtual exhibition by Marko Marulić, which in a creative and interesting way represents the distinctiveness of Marulić’s creativity.
Judith Marko Marulić, Croatian writer and one of Europe’s most famous humanists, was also presented as part of the presentation of the National and University Library in Zagreb as library of the month on the European Library portal.
The National and University Library in Zagreb recognized last year’s Presidency of the Republic of Croatia to the Council of the European Union as an opportunity to present Marulić’s rich creativity to Europe, as well as to the world, with the exhibition Marko Marulić – a European humanist who traveled through Lithuania during 2020, and is planned to visit Switzerland when epidemiological measures allow. The exhibition will open in the City Library of Marko Marulić on 23 April 2021, and will be shown for the first time in Croatia in Croatian.