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Pronunciation: [mra:ts], feminine Mraca ['mratsa]

Pavel Mrác

(aka Paulus Martius, Paul Mratz, Paul Mráce, Paolo Mrazzi, Pavel Mraç, Paweł Mrac), 1833-1898: Philologist, folklorist and poet born 1833 in Heidelberg as second child and eldest son of a Slevan father, Peter Mrác/Mratz and a German mother Catharina Schreiber.

After studies of primarily Romance philology in Germany, the Republic of the Two Crowns, Paris and the Italies he in 1857 visited Slevania together with his younger brother Martin, and both became entranced with the language and folk music of their fatherland. While Martin remained behind in Slevania collecting folk music Pavel went again to Italy in 1859, where he married Maria Bozzini. Thereafter he settled in Heidelberg. From there he sent out dialect questionnaires to parish priests all over the Slvanjek-speaking territories. Among these he selected twenty representative or more interesting sites where he directed his brother Martin to carry out more thoroughgoing investigations and thus gained a huge hoard of lexical and grammatical information on all the Slvanjek dialects. He also obtained all manner of such older texts that existed, particularly several manuscript versions of the catechism originally written by Matjas Kvjatílj in the 16th century. Based on this material he compiled the first edition of Gramatika i Diciunair Slvainça (Modern spelling Gramatika i Diczunarj Slvánca Heidelberg 1861).

In the following year (1862) Mrác with the help of the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft published a modernized and strongly puristic version of the Kvjatílj catechism which was sent to all Slvanjek parishes. At the same time his brother Martin, who had just married Anna Kovacs, started the first Slvanjek newspaper Corier Slevanieç in Pozónj. However the orthography and puristic language form, devised by Pavel Mrác, which was used in these publications caused the beginning of the long- lasting Slvanjek language controversy, which caused P. Mrác to undertake a journey to the major Slevan towns in order to rally support for his national romanticism, coinciding with the publication of Martin Mrác's edition of Slevan folk songs Carmina Silvanica 1863. These activities alerted the Hungarian authorities who were struck with fear for a Slevan national uprising. As a result Pavel Mrác was extradited to Germany, and Martin Mrác was imprisoned, but was released after only three days through the intervention of his father-in-law who was an officer in the Hungarian army. Contrary to the intentions of the Hungarian authorities this made the Mrác brothers widely popular and engendered support for their national romanticism also in quarters that opposed the Mrácian orthography and linguistic purism. This popularity only increased when in the following year (1864) Martin published an opera Çecelia (Ceczelja) with text by Pavel Mrác and based on a folk tale. The burghers of the Slevan towns founded singer lodges and culture societies, several people started collecting folk tales, and the signature Mark Urélj began publishing chamber plays in the taste of the time.

In 1866 Pavel Mrác published his most important academic work Ueber die nordostromanischen oder slaworomanischen Sprachen, where he investigated and elucidated the linguistic and historical relations of Slvanjek and Wenedyk. This work earned him the professorship in Romance languages in Kardun in the RTC in 1870. For this reason his great etymological dictionary of the North-East Romance languages was published in Wenedyk (Dziconarz etymologik lęgwar nordko-orzętałoromańku u sławoromańku, Kardun 1873), as was the second edition of his magnum opus (Dzie lęgwar nordko-orzętałoromańku u sławoromańku, Kardun 1876) which was enlarged not least with much material on Slezan and the dialects of Wenedyk. After 1876 he published himself academically only in the periodical Romanica Carrodunensia which he had founded. This change has been attributed to the death of his wife in the said year, although it should be noted that many of the articles are of nearly book length, and that some articles form quite voluminous series, especially his Études sur les langues romanes de l'Amérique and his rediscovery of Louis Lemontaigners works on Bâzrâmani. He also published himself poetically in Slvanjek, although he is considered inferior as a poet to Mark Urélj and other contemporaries.

Pavel Mrác died in Kardun in 1898. In 1998 his remains were transferred to Kasovlja.

Literature: P. Hracán: Vita Pavely Mracy, Kasovlja 1932. Halinár, A. ed.: Operje Pavely Mracy, Kasovlja 1952-1958. Njedzél, H.: Tekst Kvjatili: spre tradicune manuskriptúr i edicune Mracy, Kasovlja 1999. Pulín, G.: "Pavel Mrác, Romaniste" in Romanica Carrodunensia 1998, Kardun 1998.

Martin Mrác

Lived 1835-1917. Younger brother of Pavel, musician, composer, musicologist, journalist and folklorist. Collected Slevan folk songs and folk-music simultanously as working as the main fieldworker of his brother. This resulted in the publishing of the folk song collection Carmina Silvanica 1863, and of Musica Silvanica in 1871. His first published more independent composition was the 1864 libretto of the opera Çecelia (Ceczelja), with text by Pavel Mrác and based on a folk tale. In the same vein he later composed a series of Tancy Slvanjci and chamber music in the Italian style, for the various orchestras where he was a member or director, which however were not published until after his death (by Karol Jelján). The original folk compositions underlying Carmina Silvanica and Musica Silvanica are under publication under the auspices of the faculty of music at Kasovlja University. Married to singer Anna Kovács, known for her renderings of Hungarian and Slevan folk songs, often arranged by her husband.

Literature: Jelján, K.: Operje Múzike Martiny Mracy, Pozónj 1925. Domíc, J.: Folklor i arte áp Martin Mrác, Kasovlja 1997.

Anton Mrác

Lived 1863-1954. Son of Martin Mrác and Anna Kovács, journalist and publisher. Edited and published the works of his father and uncle in the new Slvanjek orthography. Also active as a translator from Wenedyk and German.

Literature: Valjatínj, V.: Anton Mrác, zsurnalist i eséist, Kasovlja 1977.

Karolína Mraca

Lived 1862-1959. Daughter of Pavel Mrác and Maria Bozzini, educationalist. Worked for the improvement of primary education in the RTC as well as in Slevania and Hungary.

Literature: Mraca, K.: Edukacune pru javútjev, Pozónj 1904; Spre literatúra pru javútjev, Pozónj 1931.

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