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Archive Collection description: KAR


Karadžić Collection (1832)

Vuk Stefanovic Karadžić (1787-1864), Serbian language reformer, was born in Trsic, Serbia, then under Turkish rule. In 1813 after a brief period of independence, Serbia was reconquered by the Ottoman Empire and Karadzic was one of many refugees to flee to Vienna. It was here that he met Jernej Kopitar who became an influence on his thinking. Kopitar was a Slovene working as the Austrian Imperial consor of Slavonic subjects. Karadzic's goal became to make the Serb language spoken by peasants under Turkish rule the literary norm in place of the classical style. He also wanted to establish a uniform orthography with a revised and simplified alphabet. In 1815 Prince Miloš Obrenović succeeded in overthowing Turkish rule. From 1829 to 1832 Karadžić served the newly independent state in various ways.
In 1832 Karadžić returned to Vienna after his newly published alphabet was banned by Obrenović as a result of opposition from the Orthodox Church. Karadžić protested at Obrenović's policy in his published letter "Letter to Miloš Obrenović". A copy of the original letter (now probably in the National Library of Slovenia) is part of this collection, For much of the period 1832-1859, Karadžić was barred from Serbia (from 1842 to 1859 the Obrenovic family were also in exile). He continued his battle against the old Serb alphabet and for the use of popular language. Karadžić also wrote works on Serbian history and the life and customs of Serbian peasants and published collections of folk songs. He died having largely succeeded in his linguistic aims.
Ref: Wilson, D, "The life and times of Vuk Stefanovic Karadžić 1787-1864: literary, literature and national independence in Serbia (London, 1970)


Copies of Karadžić's letter to Prince Miloš Obrenović and of his accompanying letter to Jernej Kopitar.


1 envelope

(Language) Serbian

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