Macedonian Poetry Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

(Critical Explorations in Poetry)

The first known verses in Macedonian were written by Kiril Pejinovif́-Tetoec (c. 1770-1845). The beginning of known Macedonian poetry coincided with the revival of national awareness and the struggle against the Turks and the Greek clergy, who had tried strenuously to suppress the Macedonian language and the development of Macedonian literature. The next generation of writers included several poets: Jordan Hadi Konstantinov-Dinot (1820-1882), Dimitrije Miladinov (1810-1862), Konstantin Miladinov (1830-1862), Rajko inzifov (1839-1877), and Grigor Prliev (1830-1893). The Miladinov brothers were especially active in their efforts to introduce Macedonian in schools and in collecting and publishing folk poetry. For their nationalistic activity, they both died in a prison in Constantinople. inzifov, a talented poet and an erudite scholar (he was graduated from Moscow University), was also instrumental in collecting and translating folk poetry, and his own poetry is not without merit. The most talented of these writers was Prliev. As a student of Greek, he wrote in Greek the epic poems Serdar (1860; The Sirdar, 1973) and Skender beg (1861; Skender Bey), which he later translated into Macedonian. He also translated Homer’s Iliad (c. 750 b.c.e.; English translation, 1611) and Odyssey (c. 725 b.c.e.; English translation, 1614) into his native language. The poetry of all of these poets, being so closely connected with the struggle of their people for independence, has more historical than artistic value. By writing in their own language, they helped to preserve it in literature after centuries of suppression. They also drew heavily from folk poetry, bringing that cultural treasure into focus and perhaps saving it from oblivion.