Literary historian Boris Paternu dies

Trieste – Slovenian literary historian and academician Boris Paternu died in the Italian city of Trieste at the age of 95 on Friday, the Primorski Dnevnik newspaper reported. His expertise was Slovenian literature of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, while he also extensively studied the poetry of Slovenia’s greatest poet France Prešeren.

Among the many projects he participated in, Paternu was a member of the board in the early 1990s which prepared a new edition of the Freising Manuscripts, the oldest Slovenian language text and the first Latin-script text in any Slavic language.

He led a several-year research project on poems of WWII resistance from 1941-1945 which resulted in four books, with parts also published in Germany, France and Italy.

His Italian translation of a France Prešeren monograph from 1999 made this 19th-century Romantic poet better known in Italy.

Paternu’s studies were published in many European countries as well as in Russia, the US and Australia, while he lectured at more than a dozen European universities.

The literary historian was born in a village near the town of Črnomelj, south-eastern Slovenia, in 1926, but moved with his parents to Kranj when he was 15.

As a secondary school student, he joined the WWII resistance movement.

He graduated in Slovenian studies from the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts in 1951 and earned a PhD in literature in 1960 to then teach there history of Slovenian literature.

After he retired in 1994, the University of Ljubljana made him into professor emeritus. He was also a member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and became Slovenia’s science ambassador in 1996. Among the many accolades he received, he was decorated with the Silver Order of Freedom of the Republic of Slovenia in 1996.