Ivan Cankar

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Cankar, Ivan


Born May 10, 1876, in Vrhnika; died Dec. 11, 1918, in Ljubljana. Slovene writer.

After studying at the University of Vienna for a brief period in 1896, Cankar took up a literary career. A founder of Slovene modernism (seeSLOVENIA), his early works showed the influence of decadence and symbolism. Cankar’s realistic works include the comedy For the Nation’s Good (1901), the drama The King of Betajnova (1902), the novels On the Street of the Poor (1902; Russian translation, 1961) and Martin Kačur: The Biography of an Idealist (1906), and the novella The Farmhand Jernej and His Rights (1907; English translation, The Bailiff Yerney and His Rights). These works are distinguished by the organic fusion of profound psychological analysis and merciless, often bitingly satirical unmasking of the bourgeois order.

In the play Hired Hands (1910), Cankar expressed faith in the eventual victory of the proletariat. In his journalism and in his articles of literary criticism he upheld the democratic traditions of Slovene literature. Cankar’s cycle of short stories and prose poems, Visions (1917), embodied his impressions of World War I and his thoughts about the future. In articles and speeches during the war he championed the proletariat as the principal force in the struggle against Austro-Hungarian oppression.

Cankar was the founder of Slovene proletarian literature. His plays form the basis of the national repertoire.


Zbranispisi, vols. 1–21. Ljubljana, 1925–54.
Izbrana dela, vols. 1–10. Ljubljana, 1951–59.
Pisma, vols. 1–3. Ljubljana, 1948.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. Moscow, 1958.


Vidmar, J. Literarne kritike. Ljubljana, 1951. Pages 134–93.
Pirjevec, Dusan. Ivan Cancar in evropska literatura. Ljubljana, 1964.
Kermavner, D. Ivan Cancar in slovenska politika leta 1918. Ljubljana, 1968.


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