Fran Levstik was a Slovenian writer, dramatist, poet, critic and linguist, who was born on September 28th, 1831 in Dolnje Retje near Velike Lašče, to farm family, he died on November 16th, 1887 in Ljubljana. He studied in Ljubljana normal school and gymnasium, he did not graduate due to disputes with school authorities. He worked as a home teacher, later as secretary and editor. Very early he was showing all the signs of a bright and versatile talented boy.
In the year 1869, in Vienna, he started to publish funny humorous paper Pavliha (en. Jester). He was given a ban on publishing the newspaper after the seventh issue, in order of receiving state support, at the same time he was charged with national treason. Later he helped with the editing of Ljubljanski zvon (en. The Ljubljana bell). Afterward, he works as a scriptor in the Ljubljana lyceum library, where he works until his death. When he returns to Ljubljana, he completely withdraws from public and political life, due to physical and psychological exertion he gets sick from mental illness. He dies on November 16th, 1887 in Ljubljana.
Fran Levstik was talented in many different fields of work – poetry, storytelling, dramatics, essay writing, literary critics and history. He was a pioneer of a literary movement, which appears in the year 1858 and lived as a parallel phenomenon of Slovenian realism.
Most famous works of Fran Levstik are Martin Krpan z Vrha (1858) (en. Martin Krpan from Vrh), Popotovanje of Litije do Čateža (1858) (en. Travel from Litija to Čatež), Deseti brat (1863) (en. Tenth brother), Pesmi (1854) (en. Songs), Franjine pesmi (1870) (en. Songs of Franja) and Tugomer (1876).
Fran Levstik was growing up in a period of March revolution when peasant people strived for the elimination of the country’s serfdom. The wave of big national and social liberation ideas also took him. After the completion of the fifth school, the principal of Alojzij institute advises him to leave the institute, as his views do not correspond with the spiritual profession, for which they were preparing their boarders in the institute. Levstik was a great writer, Slovene, politician and linguist. He remains faithful to his principles until his last moments of his life, which are written in Tugomer: ”Be strong, inexorable, a man of steel when defending the honor and righteousness to the nation in your own language!”
Two years after his death, a monument in Velike Lašče was erected, it was designed and erected by Velike Lašče fine artist Franc Jontez. The ceremony of uncovering the monument was attended by more than 40 different societies, state and provincial members, doctors, professors, guests from Carinthia, Vienna, Czech, long column of carts and carriages from Ljubljana and other places. On this occasion, Slovene was manifested in the most numerous and purest form. The festive speaker was writer Janko Kersnik, Ivan Tavčar was also present. For this occasion Josip Stritar wrote a poem:
”Will of steel, unbowed neck,
a firm friend, a man of gold.
In the storm man, go forward, head up!
He wore a holy flag high.”
Fran Levstik was among contemporaries known by his self-confidence, critically, impertinence and consistency. He appreciated the free middle farmer, who he saw as patriarchal ideality and idiocy. He belongs among the generation of Janez Trdina and Matija Valjavec. A decisive supporter of every serious literary work. He mastered the entire that time Slovenian literature and was very critical to everything that, in his opinion, was not Slovenian and Slavic. His Yugoslav idea was based on a separation between political Yugoslavia and linguistic or cultural unitarism. He was convinced that the language is one of the most important signs of nationality, that is is an expression of national self-interest and a measure of culture. Fran Levstik was a pioneer of Slovene. Every national act was important to him.
He was active in the camp movement, Slovenska matica (en. Slovenian queen), Južni sokol (en. The southern falcon), the Dramatic society and Ljubljana reading room. He demanded a determined and inconsiderate struggle for Slovenian language and nationality. He is the most visible representative of young people in the struggle against the conservative political principles of Ancient Slavs. After him, they named Levstikov trg (en. Levstik square) in Ljubljana, Levstikova ulica (en. Levstik street) in Ljubljana, Levstikova ulica (en. Levstik street) in Novo mesto, Levstik path and Levstik award.
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