Jakob Kelemina on Shakespeare's plays


  • Mirko Jurak University of Ljubljana




English drama / translations / drama


Among Slovene scholars in English and German studies Jakob Kelemina (19 July 1882- 14 May 1957) has a very important  place. Janez Stanonik justly places him among the founding fathers of the University of Ljubljana (Stanonik 1966: 332). From 1920 Kelemina was professor of Germanic philology and between 1920 and 1957 he was also the Chair of the Deparment ofGermanic Languages and Literatures at the Faculty of Arts of this university. The major part of Kelemina's research was devoted to German and Austrian literatures,  German  philology, German-Slovene cultural relations, and literary theory; his work in these fields has already been discussed  by severa! Slovene scholars. However, in the first two decades of the twentieth century Kelemina also wrote severa! book reviews of Slovene and Croatian translations of Shakespeare's plays as well as three introductory essays to Slovene translations  of Shakespeare's plays. They are considered  as the first serious studies on Shakespeare in Slovenia (Moravec 1974: 437), and have not been analysed yet. Therefore this topic presents the core of my study, together with an evaluation  of Kelemina's contribution  to Slovene translations  of Shakespeare's plays done by Oton Župančič (1878-1949) during the first half of the twentieth century. Župančič's translations  became the criterion  for all further translations  of Shakespeare's dramatic works in Slovene. Župančič is stili one of our most important  poets and translators of this time and Kelemina's advice and criticism undoubtedly  also helped him to achieve such a high standard in his translations. In the central part of my study I also include some new material (e.g. Kelernina's letters), which is relevant for our understanding  of his co-operation with Oton Župančič  and other Slovene authors and critics. In order to put Kelemina's work into a historical perspective I present at the beginning of my study a brief survey of the development of drama and theatre in Slovenia, particularly as regards pro­ ductions and early attempts oftranslating Shakespeare's plays into Slovene. This information,  which may be particularly  relevant for foreign readers, ends with the year 1922, when Kelemina's last writ­ing about Shakespeare's plays appeared. In 2007 we commemorate the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of Kelemina's birth and fiftieth anniversary of his death, which is another reason why his work on Shakespeare should be finally researched and evaluated. This study should also help expand our knowledge about Jakob Kelemina's contribution regarding translations of Shakespeare's plays for the Slovene theatre and for Slovene culture generally.


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15. 12. 2007




How to Cite

Jurak, M. (2007). Jakob Kelemina on Shakespeare’s plays. Acta Neophilologica, 40(1-2), 5-49. https://doi.org/10.4312/an.40.1-2.5-49

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