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Slovene Collections

This page provides an overview of the Slovene Collections, illustrated by specific examples. We acquire material across the spectrum of the humanities and social sciences published in Slovenia, as well as material in the Slovene language published elsewhere in the world.

Portrait of Primož Trubar

Portrait of Primož Trubar, from Oris Zgodovine Slovencev. by Branko Božič (Ljubljana, 1980). Copyright © The British Library Board



In the following text, codes which appear in square brackets after references [C.51.c.6] indicate British Library shelfmarks.

The first Slovene books were printed during the Reformation. The British Library holds the Bible printed in 1578 [C.51.c.6] and [1410.k.6] by Sebastijan Krelj (Krell) at Johannes Mendelz' press in Ljubljana. The religious work of the first Slovene writer and philosopher Primož Trubar is represented by his Bible of 1557 [C.110.e.6], printed in Tübingen. Also held is Trubar's Catechism [C.110.b.6], the largest and most significant of its time printed in 1575. In the British Library are copies of the fine Dalmatin Bible (1584) [465.d.12]. There are also translations of Trubar's work into Croatian, and Cyrillic versions published by Anton Dalmatin and Stjepan Consul include a Catechism (1561) [C.110.a.15.(4)]. The Library holds the famous Otrožia Bible [C.53.b.26] printed in 1566 in Regensburg, containing the catechism in five languages including Croatian and Slovene. Work on the Slovene language appears to have been advanced and the British Library has a copy of the first Slovene grammar book by Adam Bohorič Arcticae horulae succisivae (Wittenberg, 1584) [1332.a.21] and Hieronymus Megiser's Dictionarium quator linguarum (1592) [628.d.1].

In the 18th century among the most important items in the British Library are books printed in Ljubljana, such as Jurij Japelj's Bible (1791) [], Marko Pohlin's Kranjska grammatika (1783) [].

The second half of the 18th and the 19th centuries marked a crucial turning point in the cultural life of the Slovenes. The origins of Slovene literature are to be found in the influence of progressive European ideas. The first poetic Almanac (Pisance) was founded in 1779. Works by Valentin Vodnik, Anton Tomaž Linhart and other important Slovene writers and poets can be found in the collections. As Slovene national consciousness was awakened, France Prešeren's Poezije [Cup.402.b.4] came to be a beacon for the Slovene people after its publication in 1847.

In the 19th and 20th centuries there is a fair collection of important Slovene material in most of the fields in which the Library collects. The British Library has paid special attention to material of the Slovene Academy, official publications, history and arts from 1945 up to 1990.

Catalogues and printed guides

  • Explore the British Library
  • The Balkan crisis, 1990-: catalogue [Part 1], compiled by Sava Peić and Magda Szkuta [2719.k.2515]
  • The Balkan crisis, 1990-: catalogue [Part 2], compiled by Sadie Morgan-Cheshire and Magda Szkuta [2719.k.2515]
  • Cyrillic books printed before 1701 in British and Irish collections: a union catalogue, compiled by R. Cleminson, C. Thomas, D. Radoslavova, A. Voznesenskij (London: The British Library, 2000) [HLR011.440947]
  • Church Slavonic entries from the British Library General Catalogue [prepared by Brad Sabin Hill] (London: The British Library, 1992) [2725.g.1675]
  • Walker, Gregory. Library resources in Britain for the study of Eastern Europe and the former U.S.S.R., compiled by Gregory Walker and Jackie Johnson (Wheatley: G.Walker, 1992) [revised edition in progress] [2719.k.1162].

Other resources

Slovene material elsewhere in the British Library


Milan Grba, Lead Curator, South-East European Studies
European Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7590