Laureate - 1981

Blaze Koneski


Blaze Koneski (Nebregovo Village, Prilep, 19 December 1921 – Skopje, 7 December 1993) – a philologist, poet, university professor. He was the most prominent figure of the Macedonistics in the period after the Liberation of Macedonia. He was a member of the Committee for standardization of the Macedonian literary language and its most outstanding representative (complier of the greatest part of the First Macedonian Ortography book, 1945 and the extended edition of the Macedonian Ortography with a Ortographic dictionary, 1950). He was the author of the fundamental works of the Macedonian Language (grammar, dictionary, history, historic phonology). He sarted his primary school at the age of nearly six in his birthplace, in order to prevent the school from closing because of the small number of students. After finishing the first grade, he moved to Prilep, where he finishes his eight-grade primary school. Because of the closing of the General Secondary School in Prilep, he continued studying Secondary school in Kragujevac and he graduates in 1939. He joins the literature life in the Secondary School, becoming the editor of the school magazine “Podmladak”, writing poems in Serbian, just in the beginning of 1939 to make a turnover and start writing in Macedonian. His first poem in Macedonian i Letter to a Mother (by the example of the respective poem by Mayakovski). At the persuation of his friends and the wish of his parents, he continues his education at the Faculty of Medicine in Belgrade. Just after a single semester at the faculty, he realised that his interest wasn’t the medicine. In the summer semester of 1940 he transfered to the Faculty of Philosophy, at the Department of Slavistics, choosing a rare combinaton: Yugoslav Literature under Major A, and under major B – Russian Literature and Russian Language. Attracted by the poetry of some Polish authors (Mickiewicz, Słowacki etc.), he attends a facultative course on Polish Language. His studying in Belgrade is connected to his discovery of the folk activities of Marko Cepenkov published in the famous Bulgarian Collection of Folk Art. His introduction to this material helps him make the first draft of the Grammar of the Macedonian language and elaboration of the Prilep dialect since he was a student. A great number of these notes are used after the Liberation, in the shaping of his Grammar (1952, 1954) and the monography Prilep Dialect (1948). Starting of the World War II on the territory of Yugoslavia prevents his studying in Belgrade, so he was forced to continue his studies in Sophia. At the University they recognize his first three semesters from Belgrade and he obtains BA degree in 1944. Working on his seminar paper on the work of the reliable Salvist Dimitar Matov, he comes across significant data on the development of the Macedonian Language. Among the other things, he read the extensive review of Aleksandar Todorov – Balan on Krste Misirkov’s work Za Makedonckite Raboti. Besides his constant insisting on coming directly to this monumental work on the Macedonian peculiarity, this was not ensured to him. However, the thought of havind a deeper insight into it never abandons him. He uses the first possible opportunity after the Liberation, when the social conditions changed, to search for the book. In June 1945 he goes to Sofia, gets the book, makes some notes and immediately publishes in the daily newspapers the extensive article One Macedonian Book and in doing that he makes the first popularisation of Misirkov in Macedonia. The autumn of 1944, even before the complete liberation of the country, he is already in the temporary state and political centre of the free territory in Gorno Vranovci Village near Veles. There he is a translator, corrector and proofreader of the newspapers and other publications, there he holds lectures on the development of the Macedonian Language and its literature character to a wide auditorium of cultural and social activists. After the Liberation Koneski is allocated a proofreader of the MacedonianTheatre: he translates shorter texts for plays and the piece Plato Krechet by Aleksandar Korneychuk, which marked the working of the Drama on MNT on 3 April 1945 with a play; he also writes the one-act play Hungry Hen Dreams of Millet, which was shown at the theatre on the New Year’s Eve of 1945. He exposes to the wider public in May 1945 with his lecture The Macedonian Literature and the Macedonian Standard language at the National University in Skopje. Sinse spring 1945 he works in the Ministry of Education, he takes part in many activities in the area of education and culture, as well as in the founding of the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje. He is one of the founders of the Faculty of Philosophy (1946, of the Institute for Macedonian Language “Krste Misirkov” (1953), of MASA (1967, First President), the Writers’ Association of Macedonia(1947, First President), of the Association (Union) for Macedonian Language and Literature (1954), of the Macedonian Slavistics Committee (1963), of the magazine “Macedonian Language” (1950, First Chief Editor) etc. He was a Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy (Philology) in Skopje, Chancellor of the University Ss Cyril and Methodius in Skopje (1958-1960). He was also a member of the Academies of Science and Arts of Croatia (1962), Serbia (1963), Slovenia (1963), Boznia and Herzegovina (1969), and later on of Vojvodina and Montenegro, as well as of Austria and Poland. He was a honorary Doctor of the Universities of Chicago (1968), Wroclaw (1970), as well as the University Ss Cyril and Methodius in Skopje. He won the Awards of Njegosh and Herder, the AVNOJ Award, “Skender Kulenovic”, Writers’ Association of USSR etc. The Macedonian scientific and cultural public showed its respect towards the name and work of Koneski by naming the Faculty of Philology in Skopje by his name and by setting up the Foundation for Macedonian Language “Nebregovo”. Works: A Grammar of the Macedonian Literary Language (I 1952, II 1954), Dictionary of the Macedonian Language (I 1961, II 1965, III 1966, editor), History of the Macedonian language (1965), Historical Phonology of the Macedonian Language (Heilderberg, 1983 in English; Skopje, 2001 in Macedonian). He is author of many other imporatnt works: Macedonian Textbooks of 19th Century- An article on the History of the Macedonian Revival (1949), Prilep Dialect (1949), Macedonian Literature in 19th century – Brief review and texts (1950), On the Mecedonian Standard Language (1952), The Apostle of Vranesnica (1956), The Language of the Macedonian Folk Poetry (1971), Speeches and Essays (1972), The Macedonian 19th century. Linguistic, literary and historic texts (1986), Images and Themes (1987), Macedonian places and names (1991). He also wrote the poetry books: Land and Love (1948), Poems (1953), The Embroideress (1955), Sterna (1966), Hand-shaking (1969), Poems Old and New (1979), The Fountains (1984), Collected Poems (1987), Meeting in Heaven (1988), Church (1988), Golden Peak (1989), Seizmograph (1989), Black Ram (1993). He also translated the works: The Mountan Laurel by Njegosh (1947), Lyrical Intermezzo by H. Heine (1952), Othello By Shakespeare (1953), Savica’s Baptization by F. Preshern (1980), as well as poems by Aleskandar Blok, Adam Mickiewicz, Vladimir Mayakovski, Desanka Maksimovic etc.