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ROBINSONADE – SLAVICA: Robinzon starši, njegove vožnje in čudezne dogodbe


[Robinson. Parents, His Travels and Marvelous Adventures]


A rare first Slovenian translation of Robinson Crusoe, owned by the artist Božidar Jakac as a child, with possibly the earliest known artist’s signature.


8°, 141 pp. with black and white illustrations in text, [1] index, contemporary black boards with calf spine with embossed lettering, signed, stamped and blind-stamped by the previous owners (40 asalways wrongly numbered as 49, pp. 125- 126 with a small tear in the text below, some sporadic staining and small tears in margins, pp. 39-44 shorter in the lower part, binding scuffed with small tears and pieces of material missing, old annotations on the endpapers, but inside in a good used condition).

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This is a rare first Slovenian translation of the adventures of Robinson Crusoe. The book was printed by the Slovenian Catholic press in Klagenfurt, Austria. The translator Janez Parapat (1838-1879) was a Slovenian / Austro-Hungarian priest, historian and author.


This example was received as a present by a 10 year old Božidar Jakac from his mother. Jakac (1899 – 1989), who would later become one of the most esteemed Slovenian / Yugoslav artists, educated in art schools in Prague, Berlin and Bremen. Beside his landscape painting, book illustration and prints he was also known as one of most influential portrait painters of 20th century. His portrait of the Slovenian poet France Preseren, made in 1940, became one of the emblematic refigurations of the national poet. During WWII he joined the underground Partisan movement, producing prints for clandestine printing shops. During that time he made a drawing of Tito, which
became an iconic drawing of the Yugoslavian leader. In 1965 Jakac was named the honorary academician of Accademia dell’Arte del Disegno in Florence and in 1982 a full member of European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities in Paris.

The book was originally owned by Jakac’s mother Josipina (called Pepina), who gave it to his son as a present in 1909 with an Italian dedication (Božidar Jakac’s parents met and lived in Istria in the late 19th century).

The young Božidar Jakac signed himself with a German version of his name as Theodor Jakaz on the top of the front endpaper, and later blind-stamped the pages with the Slavic version of the name, Božidar Jakac.


The story of Robinson Crusoe was based on a real life experience by a sailor Alexander Selkirk, who was marooned on Juan Fernández Island (today Robinson Crusoe Island) for over four years, between 1704-1709. Upon his return a book based on his life was published with a title Fame of having lived four Years and four Months alone on the Island of Juan Fernandez, which inspired Daniel Defoe (circa 1660-1731) to write The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates.

This first edition of Robinson Crusoe was supposed to be only an unimportant entertaining book. It was Defoe’s 412th publication and he wrote it, because he needed money for his daughter’s wedding. It was published anonymously on April 25, 1719, and war republished in on May 9, June 4, August 7 etc without definitive manuscript. The book was a major success and soon many different variations of text with various names and stories appeared in different languages. The stories varied from entertaining and educational to moralising.

The word Robinsonade was first invented by German writer Johann Gottfried Schnabel in the Preface of his 1731 work Die Insel Felsenburg (The Island Stronghold).
This is a rare first edition. Reprints of the highly successful work were published in 1893, 1904 and 1921. Seven Slovenian libraries house a copy of this edition and no institution abroad.

References: OCLC 442474486. ÖBL 1815-1950, Bd. 7 (Lfg. 34, 1977), S. 324.

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