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Original scientific paper

Nobleman Nikša Gradi, Lawyer and Writer (1825-1894)

Irvin Lukežić ; Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia

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Nicolò Gradi, lawyer and writer, descendant of the illustrious Ragusan patrician family, was born in Zadar in 1825, where he attended the Gymnasium. After studying law in Padua, his judicial career led him to Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Rijeka and Kotor, then part of the Habsburg Monarchy. Following retirement, he settled in Dubrovnik, devoting himself mainly to literature and politics. Apart from law, the scope of his erudition included classical, Italian and old Croatian literature. Gradi was a miscellaneous writer, and his articles, sketches, polemics, poems and dramatic texts in both Italian and Croatian were published in supplements, calendars, pamphlets and books. He focused on the philological problem of the composition of Gundulić’s Osman. His passion for old Dubrovnik writers and folk tradition urged him to write exclusively in Croatian in his mature years. His verse deals with patriotic and current political themes, advocating for the idea of the unity of south Slavs, whom he considered one nation composed of several tribes. His position on the Serbian origin of the Slavonians, Dalmatians and Ragusans gave rise to considerable controversy with the adherents of the Dalmatian popular party and Italian autonomists. During his service in Rijeka, his collection of poems Il poeta et il genio della terra appeared in print (1864). Despite an impressive level of erudition, Gradić was not an original writer and failed to produce a major literary work, his importance today being primarily cultural and historical. The reason for this most certainly lies in the predominantly occasional character of his texts, often imbued with political ideas which have become anachronistic. Nicolò Gradi died in Dubrovnik in 1894.


Dubrovnik, Gradi Nikša

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