Croatian language and literature
The Croatian language is one of the versions of the Central-South Slavic diasystem, based on Stokavian dialect, which is spoken mainly by the Croats. The modern language has evolved out of more than 9 centuries of literary works written in a mixture of Croatian Church Slavonic and the vernacular language.
One of the earliest examples of written language of Croats is Baska tablet (11th c.). From 11th c. to the second half of the 15th c. Croatian literature accumulated a great number of biblical stories, legends, and folktales.
After the invention of the printing press, literature in Croatia experienced a boom and became an important part of the European literature. The writing genius of Marin Drzic (1508-67), who wrote pastoral dramas and comedies depicting Renaissance Dubrovnik, made a great contribution to raising the Croatian language to a high literary level. Other renowned authors of that period were Marko Marulic, the writer of the epic, describing the national struggle against the Turks, and Hanibal Lucic, author of Robinja, the first South Slav secular play.
Romantic literature in Croatia originated from the Illyrian political movement of the first half of 19th c., which proclaimed the aim of uniting all South Slavs within the territory of Habsburg federation. Ljudevit Gaj, a representative of this movement, did his best to make the stokavski dialect the literary language of Croatia and also was the one who developed a unified orthography. Poetry was on the rise during that period, with Stanko Vraz and Ivan Mazuranic ll being the most prolific poets.
The most prominent prose writers of the 20th c. were Dinko Simunovic, who described the poverty and the beauty of Dalmatia, Ivana Brlic-Mazuranic, the author of outstanding collection of fairy tales, Marija Juric Zagorka, who gained his popularity due to engrossing historical novels, and Slavko Kolar, who devoted his work to depiction of the peasant's life in unstable world. The 20th c. has also seen two masterpieces by Miroslav Krleza, The Return of Philip Latinowicz and the Banners, which portrayed Croatian life at the turn of the century.