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Vladimir Bartol (1903–1967)
writer, playwright, essayist, and critic. Born in Trieste, Vladimir Bartol was one of Slovenia’s leading intellects and an author of plays, short stories and theater reviews. During the 1920s, he studied at the universities of Paris and Ljubljana, concentrating on philosophy, world religions, psychology (he was among the first to introduce Freud’s teachings in the former Yugoslavia) and biology. During World War II, he participated in the resistance movement against the Nazi occupation of former Yugoslavia.
Alamut, the second of his two novels, represents the culminating point of his ideas and experiences of totalitarianism during the years before and after World War II. Vladimir Bartol did not live to experience the tremendous success of his novel Alamut, even though he had suspected and predicted it. Over the years, Alamut has been published more than 70 times. The success dreamt of by the author is thus becoming a reality.
Bartol died on 12 September 1967 in Ljubljana, 64 years old, with most of his work out of print and was at the time virtually unknown among his countrymen.
Besides Alamut his major works are Lopez (1932, drama), Al Araf (1934, collection of short stories), Tržaške humoreske (1952), Mladost pri Svetem Ivanu (1955–56, autobiography).
Most of his works are currently being rediscovered and republished by Sanje.
It is striking that in his diary, Bartol predicted his first international success with astonishing precision:
“I will be understood by the public in 50 years” …1938 – and the first success of Alamut in France in 1988.
“I had a feeling I was writing for a public who was going to live 50 years later…”
“I finished Alamut at 5.45 a.m. Pleased. These final days I kept trembling for someone not to steal it from me, for a fire not to start, or for something else not to happen.
Towards the end I fancied that someone could even have killed me or I could have met with an accident, Alamut was chiefly completed. Yet it was not until I put down the last letter that I felt
really at ease. Let someone kill me - in Alamut, I am going to be immortal.”
– Vladimir Bartol, Diary, Sunday, 24 July 1938