JANKO POLIĆ KAMOV
1885. - 1909.
Janko Polić Kamov (1886 – 1910) was a Croatian writer and poet. He was born in Sušak, Rijeka. Rebellious by nature, he was expelled from Rijeka high school and dropped out of school in Zagreb. Because of his participation in the demonstration against the Hungarian governor in Croatia, Khuen-Héderváry, he was sentenced to three months in prison in 1903. Headstrong and temperamental, he called himself Kamov, after Ham (or Kam) from the Old Testament, who saw his father Noah naked but unlike his siblings Shem and Japhet did not cover his nakedness, thus issuing a curse. Kamov probably saw himself as a revealer of bourgeoise hypocrisy and wrote to his brother Vladimir in 1910 – "Kamov to me is a literary program…"
His literary collection was small, but very significant, because in his poems and plays he expressed his anger and displeasure over the hypocrisy and injustice of his contemporaries in a way unprecedented in Croatian literature. His masterwork is a modernist novel Isušena kaljuža / Dried Quagmire (1906-1909) saturated with psychosexual and spiritual conflicts of the iconoclastic first-person narrator and later described as proto-existentialist prose, written decades before the literary movement’s appearance. Kamov’s novel, invariably described as the premier Croatian avant-garde major prose work, was printed for the first time in 1956. Because of that he earned a reputation as one of the greatest rebels and iconoclasts in the history of Croatian culture.
He died at the age of 24 in Barcelona and was buried at the hospital cemetery near Hospital de la Santa Creu.
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