Jovan Subotić (1817–1886) was a lawyer, writer and politician who
was member of the
Serbian Royal Academy of Sciences
Serbian Royal Academy of Sciences and Serbian
7 External links
Jovan Subotić was born at Dobrinci in
Srem on 30 January 1817. After
completing his high school (gymnasium) education in Sremski Karlovci
and Segedin, he proceeded in 1833 to the University of Pest (now the
University of Budapest). He was among the most popular students of his
time, and served as president of the Serbian Students' Union. Before
going to the university he had published some verses, and while still
at the university put forth a book of collected poems under the title
of Lira in 1837, and in 1843 another volume of poems entitled Bosilj.
In 1840 he left the University of Pest with two doctorate degrees, one
in philosophy (1836) and another in laws (1840). He then settled in
Pest where he opened a law practice; and began contributing regularly
to Srbski narodni list. Ljetopis was by then well established as a
quarterly and, because it had only two editors during this period, was
much more stable.
Teodor Pavlović remained as editor until he became
ill in 1842. He was succeeded by Subotić for the period 1842-1853.
Ljetopis improved considerably under Subotić's leadership.
Also, Subotić took additional duties as state censor for Serbian and
Romanian publications; and got heavily involved in politics. The
private collection of Sava Tekelija's 4,000 books was moved from Arad
Budapest on 30 March 1843, the Library of
Matica Srpska became the
largest Serbian library outside of Serbia. Subotić directed the
Library from 1842 and 1843, and in 1842 he began publishing the first
Serbian current bibliography in "Ljetopis." He prepared this
bibliography with the idea that the Library should be the book centre
for Serbs living in Hungarian-occupied Serbian territory.
He was married to Savka Subotić (1834-1918), a progressive proponent
of women's education, and a founding member of several Serbian women's
Subotić was an ardent Serbian patriot, and during the 1848 Revolution
he distinguished himself by his steady resistance to Hungarian
pretensions on territories populated by Serbs. He was actively
involved in the 1848 Serbian National Movement as a
representing the Serbian nation in the Austrian Empire, and then as a
member of the Serbian Central Committee in Karlovci. He left in his
autobiography a vivid recollection of the historic first Slav congress
uniting representatives from many Slav countries, then under the
Austrian yoke. In 1848 he was sent as a delegate to attend the Prague
Slavic Congress, 1848, a culmination of the initial phase of Pan-Slav
cultural collaboration in the Habsburg Empire. The Council of the
Serbs in Pest selected their delegates for Prague including
Archimandrite Nikanor Grujić, a renowned orator, Archpriest Pavle
Stamatovic, who led that delegation, Djordje Stojković, and Jovan
Subotić. The delegates from Serbia included the dean of Serbian
thought, Vuk Karadžić, and the philologist Djura Daničić,
Karadzic's ardent supporter. Subotić acted as the secretary.
According to several testimonies, Prague had a festive appearance due
to the efforts of all its citizens. Banners were everywhere and all
the houses were decorated. Jovan Subotić, a statesman and a member of
the Serbian delegation gave his own account of this event. In his
writings he commented on the disruption of the Congress in the
aftermath of Vidovdan (Saint Vitus Day). The congress itself is not
described in much detail, but Subotić includes some interesting
recollections and evaluations of the historic meeting by Serbian
delegates, and by the indomitable
Mikhail Bakunin which illuminate
more clearly the central theme of his book. According to Subotić's
recollections, the celebration in the street of Prague were monitored
and declared unruly by the Austrian authorities.
"We conferred and worked until the Orthodox All Saints Day. On this
very day, the Slavic Liturgy was celebrated at St. Wenceslaus Square.
Archpriest Pavle Stamatović and Archimandrite Nikanor Gruijić were
officiating....As soon as they (Austrian authorities) realized that
the Congress turned against their plans, they became furious....and
aimed to disband our Congress and arranged the bombing of Prague by
General Alfred Windischgratz...."
In his memoirs,
Jovan Subotić recalled that the fateful events of
1848 propelled him irrevocably into the public life. He remembered the
revolution in Vienna on March 13, which was soon followed by the
Budapest on the 15th of the same month. The first demand
addressed to the Parliament in Pest was the request for abolition of
censorship. Subotić was among the petitioners and he subsequently
lost the job that gave him 600 florins yearly.
His zeal for the national cause led him, in 1848 and 1849, to issue
several news releases, articles and pamphlets, to which many of the
foremost publicists in Serbia and Montenegro contributed, including
Ilarion Ruvarac and Petar II Petrović Njegoš. For some time the
Hungarians made it impossible for him to live in Hungarian-controlled
Serbian territory, and when, in 1849, he returned to the Hungarian
capital he found that his law practice had greatly diminished. Later,
he moved to Novi Sad where he was chosen vice-Zupan of Sremska
zupanija (the Zupanate of Srem), and in 1862 he became a member of the
Appeals Court in Zagreb. In 1865 he was appointed representative to
the Zagreb Sabor where he played an important political role. In 1867
Subotić attended the First All-Russian Ethnographic Exhibition and
the Pan-Slavic Congress in Moscow, and as a result of it, he lost his
government post. From 1870 to 1872 he was the editor of a political
journal called Srpski Narod (The Serbian Public) in Novi Sad, and in
1873 he opened a law practice in Osijek. In 1884 he moved to Zemun,
where he remained until his death on 16 January 1886.
As a playwright Jovan Subotic achieved his purpose by encouraging
national spirit and slowly developing the public's interest in the
theater. As a result, two permanent theaters were built—Srpsko
narodno Pozoriste (the Serbian National Theatre) in Novi Sad (1861)
and Narodno Pozoriste (the National Theatre) in Belgrade (1869). Both
are still leading institutions in Serbian theater life. He was a
corresponding member of the Society of Serbian Letters (7 August 1844)
Serbian Learned Society
Serbian Learned Society (29 July 1864).
1837: "Lira" (poems)
1838: "Potopljena Pešta"
1838: "Uvjenčana Nadežda" (dramatized allegory)
1843: "Bosilje" (lyrical poems and ballads )
1846: "Kralj Dečanski" (epic poetry)
1862: "Herceg Vladislav"
1863: "Nemanja" (drama)
1868: "Zvonimir" (drama)
1869: "Miloš Obilić" (tragedy)
1866: "Apoteoza Jelačića Bana"
1881: "Kaluđer" (roman).
In one of his works (epic poem on Nikola Jurišić) a subordinate
theme was Skanderbeg.
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Jovan Skerlić, Istorija nove srpske književnosti, Belgrade, 1921,
^ Летопис Матице српске. У Српској
народној задружној штампарији. 1969.
p. 155. Retrieved 19 June 2013. Мање је запажено
да се и Јован Суботић користио
Скендербеговом историјом као
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