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The Reception of Older Poetry in the Pannonian Language Area


‘The Reception of Older Poetry in the Pannonian Language Area’ is a two-year postdoctoral research project delves into an area that has so far been overlooked in Slovenian literary history. It renounces the traditional division of national literatures into centres and peripheries and tries to prove that an independent literary-linguistic system existed in the geographical area of ​​medieval Lower Pannonia from the sixteenth century, and that this culturally strongly connected space was divided in the long nineteenth century by the centripetal tendencies of young political nations, such as Slovenia. Since the middle of the nineteenth century, Slovenian and Croatian national literary history has treated Pannonian literature in East Styria, Prekmurje, Burgenland and the Kajkavian area as dialectal and marginal due to the non-acceptance of a single national literary language (Carniolan and Štokavian). The proposed research will present a new, holistic view of multilingual literature in the Pannonian linguistic-geographical area, disregarding today’s national and state borders of Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and Hungary, mainly with the help of lesser-known or completely unknown hymnals.

The spatial framework of the research is represented by four language areas (and their literatures) in the former Pannonian territory of the Habsburg Monarchy and Hungary: East Styria, Prekmurje, the Kajkavian area and Burgenland. The timeframe is the period from the formation to the decline of all of the four Pannonian literatures whose language is identified as literary in this research, that is, from the sixteenth to the middle of the nineteenth century. The emphasis will be on hymnals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as the research presupposes and proves the existence of a longer or older poetic tradition that was transmitted orally and was mostly written down only in later periods. Thematic and text-critical analysis will therefore be at the forefront of the research. The analysis and publication of the results is largely based on the methods of auxiliary historical sciences, digital humanities, comparative studies and linguistic analysis.

The project will include a comparative analysis of the most common and characteristic religious and secular poetic genres in this period. Based on the review of manuscripts and printed hymnals to date, the following genres stand out among religious genres of poetry: festive, saintly, Mary’s, Christ’s and eschatological songs. Among the secular poetic genres, the most characteristic are those that have been included in the curricula of grammar schools: these are elegy, idyll, ode and didactic poems, while war poems and national revival poem are often represented in handwritten songbooks. Comparative analysis will discover and analyse those religious poems that show a transcriptional tradition in Pannonian hymnals. This is less present in secular poetry, as, for example, a modern authorial concept was already being established in the Romantic period. In this type of poetry, I will therefore focus mainly on the analysis of poetic themes, motifs, ideas and stanza forms.

The planned results of the project include the online publication of codicological descriptions and facsimiles of hitherto unknown Prekmurje manuscript hymnals, an interactive exhibition of Prekmurje, Styrian and Kajkavian hymnals at the University Library Maribor, lectures in Slovenia and abroad, publication of two scientific articles in central Slovenian and Croatian literary journals, and a monograph of the project leader in both printed and electronic form.

Project Stages

Months 1–6:

  • study of archival sources, primary and secondary literature;
  • collection and selection of texts suitable for analysis and interpretation, and corpus production; 
  • preparation of codicological and content descriptions of manuscript hymnals and publication on the NRSS web portal.

Months 7–12:

  • analysis of the created corpus of texts;
  • participation in the Summer School of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig; 
  • participation in one Slovenian symposium and publication of a scientific article in one of the central Slovenian literary journals. 

Months 13–18:

  • concluding research, writing of syntheses;
  • writing and editing the text for a monograph;
  • preparation of an exhibition of Styrian, Prekmurje and Kajkavian hymnals at the Maribor University Library.

Months 19–24:

  • opening of the exhibition;
  • presentation of public lectures on poetry in the East Slovenian area; 
  • publication of scientific monographs in printed and electronic form. 


Ditmajer, Nina. Pesniški žanri v slovenskih protestantskih pesmaricah in njihova recepcija v katoliških pesmaricah. In: Novi pogledi na Adama Bohoriča. Ed. Marko Jesenšek. Ljubljana: Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti, 2022. 394–417.

Ditmajer, Nina. Multilingual and Hybrid Manuscript Hymnals in the Pannonian Language Area. In: 18. Tagung des Jungen Forums Slavistische Literaturwissenschaft: 29.09.–01.10. 2022: Book of Abstracts. Graz: Institut für Slawistik der Karl-Franzens-Universität, 2022. 28.

Ditmajer, Nina. Prizadevanje Mihaela Lendovška za ponovno izdajo Nebeškega pastirja Gregorja Kapucina. In: Međunarodni znanstveni skup Gregur Kapucin i njegovo djelo: povodom 210. obljetnice smrti: program i sažetci izlaganja. Ed. Alojz Jembrih and Petar Ušković Croata. Zagreb: Hrvatska kapucinska provincija sv. Leopolda Bogdana Mandića, 2022. 16.

Research Project

Research Fields
Splošna in primerjalna književnost, literarna kritika, literarna teorija H390