Venerating poets and writers in Europe

From hero cults to nineteenth-century nationalist commemoration


  • Marijan Dović


nationalism, cultural saints, literary history, commemoration practices


The article explores (posthumous) veneration and canonisation of poets and writers in Europe with a special focus on those features that connect such veneration to various religious traditions. Departing from poets hero cults in Ancient Greece, it briefly surveys the veneration of poets in early modern Europe and goes on to review in more detail the essential developments during the long nineteenth century that brought commemoration to the forefront like no period before or after. Paying particular attention to commemorations most distinctive features, such as the cult of centenary and the statuary fever, it outlines its ritual dimensions that bind it with the veneration of religious saints. At the end, it discusses the connections of commemoration culture with nation-building and analyses the rise of national poets as paradigmatic cultural saints.

Author Biography

Marijan Dović

Marijan Dović is Senior Research Fellow at the ZRC SAZU Institute of the Slovenian Literature and Literary Studies (Ljubljana) and Associate Professor at the School of Humanities of the University of Nova Gorica. His major publications in English address Romanticism, European cultural nationalism, national poets, the literary canon, systems theory, the avant-garde and the theory of authorship. He is currently leading a project on national poets and cultural saints.



How to Cite

Dović, M. (2015). Venerating poets and writers in Europe: From hero cults to nineteenth-century nationalist commemoration. Studies on National Movements (SNM), 3. Retrieved from