Vojislav Ilić

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Vojislav Ilić
Vojislav Ilic.jpg
Born(1860-04-14)14 April 1860
Belgrade, Principality of Serbia
Died21 January 1894(1894-01-21) (aged 33)
Belgrade, Kingdom of Serbia
Resting place Belgrade New Cemetery

Vojislav Ilić (Serbian Cyrillic: Војислав Илић; 14 April 1860 – 21 January 1894) was a Serbian poet, known for his finely chiseled verse.

The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script for Serbo-Croatian, developed in 1818 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić. It is one of the two alphabets used to write standard modern Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin, the other being Latin.

The Serbs are a nation and South Slavic ethnic group that formed in the Balkans. The majority of Serbs inhabit the nation state of Serbia, as well as the disputed territory of Kosovo, and the neighboring countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro. They form significant minorities in North Macedonia and Slovenia. There is a large Serb diaspora in Western Europe, and outside Europe there are significant communities in North America and Australia.

Poet Person who writes and publishes poetry

A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience.


Ilić failed to complete his college education and was forced to take various clerical positions of minor importance. Living for the most part in poverty, he wrote poetry extensively and soon became the leading Serbian poet in the last decades of the nineteenth century. As many Serbian artists of that era, he died young, of tuberculosis, in 1894.

Tuberculosis Infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. About 10% of latent infections progress to active disease which, if left untreated, kills about half of those affected. The classic symptoms of active TB are a chronic cough with blood-containing mucus, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It was historically called "consumption" due to the weight loss. Infection of other organs can cause a wide range of symptoms.

His poetry exemplifies a classic example of modern Serbian language and features the standard Decadent motifs of the epoch: cruel nature (e.g. cold wind blowing across empty fields), and the times of Elagabalus.

Serbian language South Slavic language

Serbian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs. It is the official language of Serbia, co-official in the territory of Kosovo, and one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, it is a recognized minority language in Montenegro, where it is spoken by the relative majority of the population, as well as in Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Elagabalus Augustus

Elagabalus, also known as Heliogabalus, was Roman emperor from 218 to 222. A member of the Severan dynasty, he was Syrian, the second son of Julia Soaemias and Sextus Varius Marcellus. In his early youth he served the god Elagabalus as a priest in Emesa, the hometown of his mother's family. As a private citizen, he was probably named Sextus Varius Avitus Bassianus. Upon becoming emperor he took the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. He was called Elagabalus only after his death.


Vojislav J. Ilić, Serbian poet, was born in Belgrade on 14 April 1860, the youngest son of poet and politician Jovan Ilić . On both sides of the family was of the highest provincial middle class, but was not noble; his father was fairly wealthy after retiring from the Privy Council in 1882, and living quietly as the patriarch of a literary dynasty which he helped create. Jovan Ilić, together with politicians-historians Jevrem Grujić and Milovan Janković, played a critical role in the St. Andrew Day National Assembly in 1858 when the call for a parliamentary check on Alexander Karađorđević's monastic power for the first time gained popular support. Vojislav was educated at various grade schools and high schools and at the end of his school days he enrolled in the Faculty of Philosophy at Belgrade's Grande école (Velika Škola), but did not graduate. The hub of literary activity was his home, where he befriended Jovan Jovanović Zmaj and Đura Jakšić and even married one of Jakšić's daughters. In certain aspects Vojislav does belong somewhat to all the four main periods of European literary style that he passed through in a period of less than 15 years, a unique phenomenon, but his great merit as a poet is that he emancipated himself from the affectations and puerilities of his masters. Literary critic Jovan Skerlić said one of the most striking aspects of Vojislav's activity is the attention he drew to the form and technique of poetic creation: Vojislav Ilić ima veliko čisto pesnički talenat, više čiste umetnosti, no i jedan srpski pesnik pre njega.

Belgrade City in Serbia

Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers and the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkan Peninsula. The urban area of Belgrade has a population of 1.23 million, while nearly 1.7 million people live within the administrative limits of the City of Belgrade, a quarter of total population of Serbia.

Jovan Ilić Serbian writer

Jovan "Jova" Ilić was a Serbian poet and politician.

Jevrem Grujić Serbian politician

Jevrem Grujić ; was a Serbian lawyer, politician, diplomat, and Member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts.

In 1885 he joined the Serbian Army as a volunteer and accompanied his detachment to Bulgaria but did not encounter the enemy. The short-lived Serbo-Bulgarian War gave Ilić another direction than the military. From 1887 until 1892 he was an editor at the Government Printing Press. In 1892 he taught at a Serbian grammar school in Turnu Severin, in Romania. That same year he was appointed press secretary at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and afterwards vice-consul in Priština, then under Turkish rule. He died in Belgrade on 21 January 1894.

Serbo-Bulgarian War 1885 war between Serbia and Bulgaria

The Serbo-Bulgarian War or Serbian–Bulgarian War was a war between the Kingdom of Serbia and Principality of Bulgaria that erupted on 14 November [O.S. 2 November] 1885 and lasted until 28 November [O.S. 16 November] 1885. Serbia took the initiative in starting the war but was decisively defeated. Austria demanded Bulgaria stop its invasion, and a truce resulted. Final peace was signed on 3 March [O.S. 19 February] 1886 in Bucharest. The old boundaries were not changed. As a result of the war, European powers acknowledged the act of Unification of Bulgaria which happened on 18 September [O.S. 6 September] 1885.

Literary work

Bust of Vojislav Ilic in Kalemegdan, Belgrade Vojislav Ilic bust.jpg
Bust of Vojislav Ilić in Kalemegdan, Belgrade

His first publication was a book simply entitled Pesme (Poems) which appeared in Belgrade in 1887 and this was followed at other intervals by other volumes of more verse. As a poet he soon made a reputation as one of the ablest and most versatile writers of his day. His influence was infectious, young aspiring poets would gather around him and in that period the term Vojislavism became a coined word in Serbian literature. In the 1890s a true Vojislavism reigned among young Serbian poets; no wonder he was proclaimed "the greatest Serbian poet" by Skerlić and other critics. Of the best known Serbian poets who looked up to him during that period were Milorad Mitrović, Mileta Jakšić, Aleksa Šantić, Danica Marković, and for a short while even Jovan Dučić, who soon went on to abandon Vojislavism for a new literary wave that Dučić and Milan Rakić would ultimately espouse, influenced by the French poets. This independence Dučić and Rakić owed in part perhaps to their studies and frequent travels abroad, both were in the diplomatic service. It was Jovan Dučić who put it best in perspective, Even if Vojislav did not succeed in becoming our greatest poet, he is certainly our most beautiful poet. [1] But nothing diminishes Vojislav J. Ilić's standing in Serbian literature which remains on a firm foundation more than a century later.[ citation needed ]

Milorad J. Mitrović was a Serbian lyrical poet.

Mileta Jakšić Serbian poet

Mileta Jakšić was a Serbian poet. He had a great love of nature which is reflected in all his works.

Aleksa Šantić Serbian poet

Aleksa Šantić was a poet from Bosnia and Herzegovina. A Herzegovinian Serb, his poetry reflecting both the urban culture of the region and the growing national awareness. The most common themes of his poems are social injustice, nostalgic love, suffering of the Serb people, and the unity of the South Slavs. He was the editor-in-chief of the magazine Zora (1896–1901). Šantić was one of the leading persons of Serbian literary and national movement in Mostar. In 1914 Šantić became a member of the Serbian Royal Academy.

Undoubtedly, Ilić achieved much for a poet who died young (he had not reached 34 years of age). Jovan Skerlić wrote: What Lukijan Mušicki meant to Serbian literature in the 1830s, Sima Milutinović Sarajlija in the 1840s, Đura Jakšić and Jovan Jovanović Zmaj in the 1860s, so too, did Vojislav J. Ilić make his imprint in the 1890s. He brought Romanticism to its conclusion and ushered in a new direction – Vojislavism.

Compared to Pushkin

Critics say he was an ardent follower of Alexander Pushkin: "As far as Vojislav Ilić is concerned Pushkin's influence is beyond question: everything in Ilić's verses, their rhythm and power of expression remind one of Pushkin." Jovan Skerlić reproached him for that, but Ilić himself never made a secret of it and openly avowed in one of his poems that he was a pupil of Vasily Zhukovsky and Pushkin.

Ilić was also an ardent follower of Vuk Karadžić's reforms. He displays richness of fancy and aptness of language, and his work has even stood the test of time. Various editions of his Collected Works have been published after his death, one in 1907 and 1909, in two volumes.

He has been credited for having influenced many poets that came after him, thereby paving the way for higher achievements in Serbian poetry in the first two decades of the twentieth century.


He is included in The 100 most prominent Serbs.

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  1. Henrik Birnbaum; Speros Vryonis (5 November 2018). Aspects of the Balkans: Continuity and Change. De Gruyter. p. 387. ISBN   978-3-11-088593-4.