Fran Saleški Finžgar

Fran Saleški Finžgar (February 9, 1871 – June 2, 1962) was perhaps the most popular Slovene folk writer.[1] He is particularly known for his novels and short stories, although he also wrote poems and plays.

Fran Saleški Finžgar
Fran Saleški Finžgar (1931)
Fran Saleški Finžgar (1931)
Born(1871-02-09)February 9, 1871
DiedJune 2, 1962(1962-06-02) (aged 91)
OccupationRoman Catholic priest, novelist, short story writer, playwright, poet, translator
Notable worksPod svobodnim soncem (1906–1907)
Mister Torrent (1941)
Notable awardsPrešeren Award (1951)
Levstik Award (1953)


Fran Saleški Finžgar was born into a poor peasant family in the Upper Carniolan village of Doslovče, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After finishing primary education in the town of Radovljica, he attended secondary school in Ljubljana between 1882 and 1891, continuing his education at the theological college. He was ordained priest in 1894 and worked in various parishes in Upper Carniola and Ljubljana until 1936, when he retired.[2] He died in Ljubljana at the age of 91 and was buried at the Žale cemetery.

Politically, Finžgar was close to the Christian Socialist ideals of the Slovenian Catholic political activist and leader Janez Evangelist Krek. He was also an admirer and friend of the Social Democratic author Ivan Cankar, whom he even catered at his deathbed in 1918. During World War II, he collaborated with the Communist-led Liberation Front of the Slovenian People, which led him to some conflict with the then bishop of Ljubljana, Gregorij Rožman.

The Finžgar House in Doslovče was frequented by many intellectuals from the area, particularly by his best friend Izidor Cankar, an influential art historian and manager.[1] The ethnologist Janez Bogataj, whose mother was Finžgar's niece, spent his first 15 years in Finžgar's company and arranged his birth house for public in 1971.[1] Finžgar's close friend and personal advisor was also the architect Jože Plečnik. When Finžgar served as a priest in the parish of Trnovo in Ljubljana, Plečnik was his neighbour. In the late 1920s, Finžgar commissioned the renovation of the Trnovo parish church to his architect friend.


Finžgar started his literary career as a poet, but later turned to prose. He wrote novels in the Neo-Romantic style, depicting rural and small town life. He is best known for his patriotic historical novel Under the Free Sun [sl] (Slovene: Pod svobodnim soncem), written between 1906 and 1907. It was partially modelled after Sienkiewicz and based on Slovene mythology [sl]. It was set in the 6th century AD and depicted the conflict between South Slavic tribes and the degenerate Byzantine Empire.

Finžgar also wrote short stories and tales for children, the best known of which is Mister Torrent (Gospod Hudournik). It is a eulogy to nature, written as a set of adventures of a clerk from Ljubljana in the Karawanks. In addition, he wrote a number of plays, none of them particularly successful. He translated several works of the Austrian poet Peter Rosegger, whom he admired, into Slovene. He was the editor of the family magazine Mladika (The Shoot) and member of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts.

In 1939, Finžgar the arrangement of the Prešeren House, the birth house of France Prešeren in Vrba, a village near Doslovče. It was opened as a museum on 21 May that year. In 1940, the Prešeren House and the village were filmed for the black and white sound documentary O, Vrba.[3] It was directed by Mario Förster [sl] and produced in 1941. The house was presented by Finžgar, whereas Oton Župančič read the poem "O Vrba".[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Kako je Finžgarja zasulo do pasu in kako družina še danes hrani tisto srajco" [How Finžgar Got Buried up to His Waist and How the Family Still Keeps That Shirt]. MMC RTV Slovenija (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. 25 May 2012.
  2. ^ Anton Slodnjak (1971). Živan Milisavac (ed.). Jugoslovenski književni leksikon [Yugoslav Literary Lexicon] (in Serbo-Croatian). Novi Sad (SAP Vojvodina, SR Serbia): Matica srpska. p. 124.
  3. ^ Marinko, Roman; Rau Selič, Marta (2007). "Bogatitev filmske slike in zvoka skozi čas – obnova filma O, Vrba" [Enrichment of Film Picture and Sound Through Time – Restoration of the Film O, Vrba] (PDF). Razmere v arhivskih depojih ; (Ne)znano v arhivskih fondih in zbirkah ; Medarhivsko sodelovanje: zbornik referatov [The Situation in Archive Deposits; (Un)known in Archive Deposits and Collections; Interarchival Collaboration: A Collection of Papers] (in Slovenian and English). pp. 208–211. COBISS 899445. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-22. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  4. ^ "Filmi iz okupirane Ljubljane" [Films from the Occupied Ljubljana]. MMC RTV Slovenija. RTV Slovenija. 9 May 2008.

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