Petar Petrovich - Njegosh

(1813-1851)


Njegosh was one of the most learned men of his time. He spoke and wrote perfectly in French, Russian, Italian and a little German. Realizing the importance of literacy, Njegosh wanted to establish the first elementary school and start printing books. But even this cultural effort would have produced no results if this Montenegrin Pushkin and Goethe had not pitilessly destroyed the powers of the tribes and injected in their tightly closed structure, productive activities and administrations of the State. He was dividing his time between contemplation and action, between the world of poetry and the heroes of the past and the harsh reality of governing the country, facing up to poverty, negotiating with the enemy, seeking help in the storm of a period which he wanted to understand in all its details. As a poet, he turned to the wisdom of the people, squeezed from it all the historical and moral juices and transformed them into literature of his national tongue. Njegosh brought new ideas to the people of Montenegro and made these ideas last, thanks to both his work as a statesman and as a poet.

His sights and visions always led him into a private world all his own. That world was inaccessible to others. He lived his own intimate, ultimate life in that world. More precisely, he instantly formed his own judgments concerning that happened or that he though about; there was nothing that did not cause him to meditate and to build himself another world as a pendant to this sensual one. He has never taken part in anything without the most passionate enthusiasm. This man of passion and enthusiasm never surrendered to any passion but that of his own spirit.

Adapted from the: "Montenegro" by Marko Shpadijer and "Njegosh, Poet, Prince, Bishop" by Milovan Djilas.


lpv@umiacs.umd.edu