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The teacher and writer Ante Dukić (1867 – 1951) from Kastav wrote most of his work between the two world wars, and he was noted in local history and national lexicons in passing. Only the song Naš domaći glas (Our Local Voice) saved him from being forgotten. From 1886 to 1905, Dukić worked as the secretary and president of the Teachers’ Association of the Volosko district. When he arrived as a “training teacher” at the women’s teacher’s school in Gorica, he said that as a Croat he had come to Germanise Italian girls.

Shortly after the First World War, Dukić began writing a story about a donkey in Gorica, not knowing that it would turn into the novel Iz dnevnika jednog magarca (From the Diary of a Jackass). The book was published after moving to Zagreb in 1925 and it received a great response. Encouraged by it, Vladimir Nazor wrote a story about his dog Šarko. This was followed by a collection of verses Od osvita do sutona (From Dawn to Twilight) (1932), some of which were translated several times, and the poem was Hram (The Temple), published in sixteen languages. The novel about the donkey also appeared in an English translation. Called Pages from the Diary of a Jackass, it was published by Progress Press, New York, in 1931.

Dukić’s Chakavian Marija devica (Virgin Mary) (1935) attracted a lot of attention from the people of the Littoral.He also wrote an essay, Nešto o čakavskom naglasu (Something about the Chakavian Accent). He had an inclination for music and was the composer of several choral songs, and this is why he said: “Chakavian should be heard. It can only be written properly on a phonographic record. And read – by ear… The audio fullness of Chakavian, the variety of accents and positions where they can all stand in the words, and the pleasant harmony of the duration with accents and the gentle colouring of tones make this old Croatian dialect extremely melodic; that harmonious and sweet inflexion of the voice is real music.”

During the war years, he published the books Pogledi in German (Betrachtungen, Zagreb 1942) and Czech (Pohledy, Prague 1942), Dnevnik in Italian (Diario di un asino, Zagreb 1944) and an updated Croatian edition of Pogledi (Zagreb 1944) and Zov Kvarnera (The Call of Kvarner)(1944). The latter was published as a special edition and is a collection of lyrical poems that celebrate the littoral region, with pictures from his childhood and youth. Viktor Car Emin declared Dukić’s poem Naš domaći glas (1936) a masterpiece and some of its verses are still recited at school and public events in Kastav and Liburnia. Lovro Županović and Dušan Prašelj composed music for it.

Ervin Dubrović is the author of the exhibition. }0It has been set up in the Gallery of the Church of the Holy Trinity and under the Voltica entrance gates in Kastav where it runs from 2nd to 10th October 2021.

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