Open main menu

August Šenoa (pronounced [aʊ̯ˈɡʊst ʃɛnɔˈaː]; originally Schönoa; 14 November 1838 – 13 December 1881) was a Croatian-language novelist. Born to an ethnic German and Slovak family, Šenoa became a key figure in the develoment of an independent literary tradition in the Serbo-Croatian language and shaping the emergence of the urban Croatian identity of Zagreb and its surroundings at a time when Austrian control was weaning. He was a literary transitional figure, who helped bring Croatian literature from Romanticism to Realism and introduced the historical novel to Croatia. He wrote more than ten novels, among which the most notable are:

  • Zlatarovo zlato (Goldsmith's gold; 1871)
  • Čuvaj se senjske ruke (Pirates of Senj; 1876)
  • Seljačka buna (Peasants' revolt; 1877)
  • Diogenes (1878)
August Šenoa
August Šenoa.jpg
Born(1838-11-14)14 November 1838[1]
Died13 December 1881(1881-12-13) (aged 43)[1]

Šenoa was one of the most popular Croatian novelists and the author of the popular patriotic song "Živila Hrvatska".


Statue of August Šenoa by Marija Ujević-Galetović, in Vlaška street, Zagreb

He was born in Zagreb, then part of the Habsburg Empire, into a family of Slovak-German origin. His surname was originally spelled Schönoa. His father was Alois Schönoa, and mother was Terezija Rabacs, a Slovak woman from Budapest. He studied law in Prague. He also lived in Vienna for a while, but returned to Zagreb in 1866. He died in Zagreb at the age of 43.

From 1874 to 1881, he edited the literary journal Vijenac ("Wreath").

He died from disease picked up after the 1880 Zagreb earthquake.


In his novels, he fused national romanticism characterized by buoyant and inventive language with realistic depictions of the growth of the petite bourgeois class.

This "father of the Croatian novel" (and modern national literature) is at his best in his mass Cecildemillean scenes and poetic description of oppressed Croatian peasantry, nobility struggling against foreign rule (Venetians, Austrians/Germans and Hungarians) and romanticised period from the 15th to the 18th century. It has become a commonplace phrase that "Šenoa created the Croatian reading public", especially by writing in a popular style.


In 2008, a total of 182 streets in Croatia were named after August Šenoa, making him the seventh most common person eponym of streets in the country.[2]


  1. ^ a b c August Šenoa. Encyclopaedia Britannica
  2. ^ Letica, Slaven (29 November 2008). Bach, Nenad (ed.). "If Streets Could Talk. Kad bi ulice imale dar govora". Croatian World Network. ISSN 1847-3911. Retrieved 31 December 2014.

Further readingEdit