DR. DIMITRIJA DEMETER I NJEGOVA OSTAVŠTINA U SPOMENIČKOJ KNJIŽNICI I ZBIRCI MAŽURANIĆ-BRLIĆ-RUŽIĆ
The collections of the Mažuranic-Brlić-Ruzic Memorial Library and Archive in Rijeka contain, in addition to the libraries of Ivan, Antun and Matija Mazuranic and of Baron Kuslan, books from the library of Dimitrija Demeter. This Graeco-Croatian man of letters and doctor of medicine was the first modern Croatian playwright. Artefacts, paintings and furniture of the Demeter family are included in the collection, as well as books. Dimitrija Demeter (1811-1872), the son of Afratia and Theodor Demeter, was born into an affluent merchant family in Zagreb in 1811. His two sisters were to marry respected men from Croatian political and cultural life and his brothers became successful business men and founders of Lloyd Triestino. Dimitrija, however, initially devoted himself to science, studying at the medical faculty in Padua, where he graduated in 1834. In 1836 he received his doctorate, on the theme of meningitis. He later became one of the leading figures of the Croatian National Awakening. His main contributions were as an editor and playwright and he is widely regarded as the founder of modern Croatian drama. Not only did he write the plays ‘The Field of Grobnik’ and ‘Teuta’, publish articles and edit ‘Danica’, but he was a driving force behind, and promoter of, the Croatian theatre on St Mark’s Square in Zagreb. A portrait of Dimitrija Demeter can still be seen in the Galileo Chamber (dei magnifici quaranta) at the University of Padua, immediately behind the famous Galileo Galilei platform.
Keywords: History of Medicine, drama, literature, 19th Century, Croatia, Dimitrija Demeter