Literary Arts by Paola Grobenski and Isa Schoonewil

5th to 12th Century

  • Stone tablets, hand-written on manuscripts
  • The first works in the history of the Catholic Church were written in the Dalmatian coastal cities
  • The Baška tablet (Baščanska ploča) is the first complete document that was written in glagolitic alphabet (glagoljica)
  • Other early writings are: Senj tablet, Plastovo tablet, Knin tablet and Supetar tablet
Bašćanska Ploča

Baščanska ploča

12th to 16th Century




Petar Hektorović statue, Stari Grad, Hvar


Marin Držić

17th to 18th Century

  • Dubrovnik became the main literary center, with Ivan Gundulić playing a leading role. Gundulić's most famous play is Dubravka, where he describes the former glory of Dubrovnik. It contains some of the most famous verses in Croatian literature: O liepa, o draga, o slatka slobodo (Fair liberty, beloved liberty, liberty sweetly avowed).
  • Other notable literary figures in Dubrovnik at the time were Junije Palmotić,  Ivan Bunić Vučić and Ignjat Đurđević.
  • In the Kajkavian circle the most important figures were Juraj Habdelić and Tituš Brezovački
Ivan Gundulić

Ivan Gundulić

Tituš Brezovački

  • 1757 – 1805
  • The most prominent enlightenment writer in the northern part of Croatia
  • His most famous comedies are Diogeneš and Matijaš grabancijaš dijak
  • Tituš Brezovački Gymnasium is proudly named after him

19th Century

  • The Illyrian movement began within a small circle of mostly younger intellectuals, led by Ljudevit Gaj, based around the magazine "Danica ilirska" (Illyrian Morning Star). They had plans for the cultural, scientific, educational and economic development of Croatia.
  • Poets of the period were Ivan Mažuranić, Stanko Vraz and Petar Preradović. Mažuranić's poem "Smrt Smail-age Čengića" (The Death of Smail-aga Čengić) is considered to be the best work of Croatian romanticism.
  • Antun Mihanović wrote lyrics for the song Horvatska domovina (Croatian Homeland)  which later became Croatian national anthem Lijepa naša domovino (Our Beautiful Homeland)
  • August Šenoa introduced historical novel to Croatia. His most popular novel is Zlatarovo zlato (Goldsmith's Gold).
  • Most prominent writers of Croatian realisam were Ante Kovačić, Vjenceslav Novak, Ksaver Šandor Gjalski and poet Silvije Strahimir Kranjčević
  • The most important modernist writer at the end of the 19th century was Antun Gustav Matoš
August Šenoa

August Šenoa statue, Vlaška street, Zagreb

Ljudevit Gaj

Ljudevit Gaj

Ivan Mažuranić

Ivan Mažuranić

20th Century


  • Tin Ujević – one of the best Croatian poets
  • Dobriša Cesarić
  • Slavko Mihalić
  • Ivan Slamnig
  • Dragutin Tadijanović
  • Vesna Parun
  • Gustav Krklec
  • Ivan Goran Kovačić
Tin Ujević


  • Miroslav Krleža
    • 1893 - 1981
    • One of the best Croatian writers
    • His most famous works are: novel Povratak Filipa Latinovića (The Return of Philip Latinowitz), drama Gospoda Glembajevi, collection of short stories Hrvatski bog Mars (Croatian God Mars), poems Balade Petrice Kerempuha (Ballads of Petrica Kerempuh)
Miroslav Krleža

  • Ranko Marinković

  • Marija Jurić Zagorka
    • 1873 – 1957
    • She was the first female journalist and one of the most read writers in Croatia
    • Her most popular work is Grička vještica (The Witch of Grič), a collection of 7 novels
Marija Jurić Zagorka

Marija Jurić Zagorka statue, Tkalčićeva street, Zagreb


Miro Gavran

  • Born in 1962
  • His works have been translated into 35 languages
  • His dramas and comedies are performed all over the world
Miro Gavran

Miljenko Jergović

  • Born in 1966
  • Writer and journalist
  • He received numerous literary awards, both in Croatia and abroad
Miljenko Jergović

Contemporary women writers

  • Dubravka Ugrešić
  • Slavenka Drakulić
  • Irena Vrkljan

Julijana Matanović

  • Born in 1959
  • Writer and professor of Contemporary Croatian Literature at the University of Zagreb
Julijana Matanović

Crime novel writers

  • Pavao Pavličić
  • Goran Tribuson

Historical fiction writers

  • Ivan Aralica
  • Nedjeljko Fabrio