Probably the most notable member of the Mažuranić family is one woman. The granddaughter of Ivan Mažuranić, Ivana Brlić Mažuranić is a household name for every Croatian home.
What the Grimm brothers are for Germany and Hans Christian Andersen is for Denmark, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić is most definitely for Croatia, also holding the name of “Croatian Hans Christian Andersen.”
Ivana, coming from a famous family, was a well-educated woman who was not common for women in Croatia in the 19th century. She was exceptionally fluent in foreign languages, mostly in French in which she published some of her early works. She wrote poetry and essays, but she is mostly known for her work in the field of children’s literature, which isn’t weird at all knowing that she was a mother of seven children! Her most famous piece was 1913. Children’s story “The Marvelous Adventures and Misadventures of Hlapić the Apprentice” was later made into a famous Croatian cartoon also.
The story follows the path of the little apprentice named Hlapić in a seven-day span of adventures and valuable lessons.
Ivana’s second most famous work was “Croatian Tales of long ago” which is a collection of children’s stories with generous motives of ancient Slavic mythology. Because of this book, written in 1916. , she was often compared to Tolkien too.
Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić was nominated four times (!) for the Nobel Prize in Literature (in 1931, 1935, 1937, and 1938) and the first woman accepted in the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1937.
Unfortunately, due to depression, she couldn’t handle it anymore, she committed suicide in 1938.
Despite this unfortunate fact, her inheritance lives in many people’s lives, especially children’s. “The Marvelous Adventures and Misadventures of Hlapić the Apprentice” were translated to all languages you can imagine, from English, German, French, Japanese, Vietnamese, Hindu, Chinese, and even Esperanto.