Markovic, Svetozar

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Marković, Svetozar


Born Sept. 9, 1846, in Zajecar; died Feb. 26, 1875, in Trieste. Serbian revolutionary democrat; ideological forefather of Serbian Social Democracy; materialist philosopher; publicist and literary critic. Son of a clerk.

Marković received a higher technical education in Belgrade (1863-66), St. Petersburg (1866-69), and Zurich (1869-70). He participated in the Russian revolutionary movement and was close to the underground Smorgon’ Academy organization in St. Petersburg. In Switzerland he was an agent and correspondent for the Russian section of the First International. In the summer of 1870 he engaged in the propaganda of socialist ideas among students in Serbia. He published Radenik (1871-72), the first socialist newspaper in the Balkans, and was editor of the newspapers Javnost (1873-74) and Oslobodjenje (1875).

Marković was the forefather of the revolutionary school in Serbian social thought. His Weltanschauung was greatly influenced by the ideas of the Russian revolutionary democrats (especially N. G. Chernyshevskii). The theoretical basis of Markovic’s revolutionary views was the materialist philosophy set forth by him in his work The Realist Trend in Science and Life (1871-72). While seeing in the works of C. Darwin, I. M. Sechenov, and other natural scientists proof of the fact that human thought is derived from the movement of matter, Markovic was still unable to finally overcome the limitations of anthropological materialism.

In his explanation of social phenomena he remained an idealist. Markovic considered the people the moving force in historical development and called for destruction of the monarchy and establishment of a democratic republic by means of a peasant revolution; he was also for reorganization of state and social life in Serbia on principles of broad self-government. He believed that the transition to socialism was possible through the semi-patriarchal Zadruga commune (in which his Utopian socialist views were reflected). He was an advocate of the national liberation revolution of the South Slavic peoples and the creation of a federation of free, equal republics in the Balkans.

Markovic’s works Poetry and Thought (1868), Realism in Poetry (1870), and The People and Writers (1872) marked the beginning of materialist aesthetics in Serbia and critical realism in Serbian literature. Markovic opposed ideologically empty poetry and criticized the metaphysical principles of the bourgeois aestheticians.


Celokupna dela, vols. 1-8. Belgrade, 1892-1912.
Sabrani spisi, vols. 1-4. Belgrade, 1960-65.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. soch. Moscow, 1956.


Istoriia filosofii, vol. 2. Moscow, 1957. Pages 462-73.
Vuletić, I. Svetozar Marković i ruski revoljucionarni demokrati. Novi Sad, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.