Il paratesto come pretesto: l’autobiografia di Pavle Solarić


Pavle Solarić
Dositej Obradović


This paper analyzes the autobiography of Pavle Solarić (1779-1821), friend and
closest collaborator of Dositej Obradović. The work was actually configured as
part of a paratext, being the preface to Solarić's own translation of Von der
Einsamkeit (1773; it. transl. Saggio sopra la solitudine, 1804), a work by German
physician and philosopher Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann. While
Zimmermann addresses the concepts of loneliness and sociability, Solarić de-
scribes his own understanding of friendship, relationships and loneliness, and
he does so by interweaving the narrative with autobiographical data. He dwells
in particular on his country of origin and his family, but also writes about his
desire to pursue his studies and face existence as a hermit. In the course of the
narrative he often refers, in more or less explicit forms, to Obradović, his con-
stant point of reference. This is what emerges, for example, when he proposes
to live according to models of asceticism and holiness, when he aspires to visit
major centers of study (but unlike Obradović he prefers Serbian ones, such as
Sremski Karlovci), when he rails against superstition, when he admits that he
too harbors prejudices against his fellow man, when he gives authors precise
instructions on how to address Serbian readers, or when he launches the idea
of converting monasteries into schools and monks into teachers. The narrative
of his life ends in January 1809, at the time when his translation of Zimmer-
man’s text came out. It is thus an autobiography that projects its author into
the future since from that year onward Solarić began to publish his theories in
the field of philology. More than a pretext for autobiography, this paratext is a
pretext for the popularization of his philological project.
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.