Show Less
Restricted access

A Slavic Republic of Letters

The Correspondence between Jernej Kopitar and Baron Žiga Zois


Luka Vidmar

This book discusses the correspondence between Jernej Kopitar, a co-founder of Slavic studies and proponent of Austro-Slavism, and Baron Žiga Zois, an Austrian nobleman and patron of the Slovene national revival. The author treats their letters (composed between 1808–19), which are for the most part unpublished, both as historical sources and as texts. In the first part of the book, he situates them in history and within the genre of the letter, especially in the context of Classical and Enlightenment epistolography; in the second, he deals with their importance for the development of Slavic cultural nationalisms; in particular, he argues that this correspondence successfully bound Slovene, Czech, Polish, Dalmatian, Croatian, and Serbian literati into a Slavic «republic of letters».
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Jernej Kopitar


Jernej (Bartholomäus) Kopitar was born on 21 August 1780 in the village of Repnje in the Duchy of Carniola (the central Slovene province), which at the time was under the Habsburg Monarchy. He was the son of the mayor and prominent farmer, Jakob Kopitar. Between 1791 and 1800, Kopitar attended primary school, gymnasium, and the Lyceum in the Carniolan capital of Ljubljana (Kopitar 1851; Kernc 1932: 496−497). From 1800 to 1803, he was a private tutor in the noble Bonazza family, who introduced him to their relative Baron Žiga Zois. Kopitar moved to Zois’s residence in Ljubljana in 1803, working as the baron’s personal secretary, librarian, and curator of his mineral collection. He quickly made himself known in the Zois circle, which at that time was spearheading the Slovene revival. Zois encouraged and directed Kopitar’s interest in history, languages, and literature, in particular his study of Slavic languages and literatures. Ultimately, he sent him to Vienna in October 1808: there Kopitar studied law at Zois’s expense and finished writing a grammar of Slovene. In the following months, Zois arranged for its publication in Ljubljana. At the same time, he supplied recommendations for Kopitar to gain access to his acquaintances among the Viennese social and intellectual elite. In exchange, Kopitar served as Zois’s intermediary with acquaintances in Vienna. In addition, he purchased books, minerals, and technical equipment for Zois.1

In 1810, Kopitar was named censor for Slavic and Greek (later also Romanian) books and periodicals...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.