Fran Krsto Frankopan

1643. -1671.

Fran Krsto Frankopan (1643-1671) was a nobleman, poet, translator and captain of Senj. By all means, he was the most eminent intellectual among the Frankopans. He was a hero in war and eminent author in peace, writer of the lost, and in the 19th century found, “Gartlic za čas kratiti” (The Garden in which to Cheat Time).

Fran Krsto Frankopan, a half-brother of Katarina Zrinski, the youngest son of Vuk Frankopan, a general of Karlovac, was educated in Zagreb, where he discovered his inclination towards books and writing. In order to continue his education, he went to Italy where he studied Italian poetry and met a respectable Roman patrician, Julijana de Naro whom he married. When he returned to his homeland, he followed his father's footsteps and became a captain of Ogulin. He was also one of the organizers of the historical conspiracy of Croatian-Hungarian aristocracy, with a view to break off from the Monarchy. Due to this participation in the conspiracy, he was beheaded in Wiener Neustadt on April 30, 1671.

Fran Krsto had exceptional, artistic talent; he was born a poet. In his lifetime he published only one literary work, an epic poem “Elegija” (Elegy, 1656), he translated Moliere, and he left behind an interesting philosophic-poetic vision “Trumbita sudnjeg dana”. He is deemed as the most talented poet of the Ozalj circle.


Tragic poet's destiny was followed by the destiny of his poetry compiled in the collection “Gartlic za čas kratiti”. Two whole centuries passed until it was discovered by a librarian in the Viennese Court Library, Ivan Kostrenčić. He was the first one to publish it in a book called Vrtić (Small Garden) in 1871, but only in a selection since some of these poems, erotic ones from the “Gartlic” and “Zganke” cycle, were too provocative for moral sentiments of the readers of that period due to their audacious expressions. Although this little book was a literary sensation, none of the critics of that period recognized its value. According to their standards, Frankopan's language was flawed because it was “miscellaneous and gaudy”, but this was actually a specific feature of all writers of the Ozalj literary-linguistic circle, which unfortunately did not produce the results it could have. Namely, when the Croatian literary language was being codified, Ivan Gundulić was the model, so Frankopan’s three-dialect poetry was seen as an aberration from the mainstream development of the Croatian language. However, recent linguistic-historical studies, those of Josip Vončina in particular, have described and valued peculiarities and flexibility of Frankopan’s artistic expression. Re-edition of the book “Gartlic za čas kratiti” was prepared by Josip Vončina, and it was published as a part of the encyclopaedia “Centuries of Croatian Literature” in edition of Matrix Croatica, Zagreb, 1995.