Martin Kukučin – a doctor, an author, a Slovak and a Selčanin

 Reason #122: Slovakian author lived here and wrote about life on Brač in 1900

Martin Kukučin is a famous Slovakian author, medical doctor by profession, who lived in Selca 1894-1907 and wrote about the life and the people.

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His real name was Matej Bencur. He was born in 1860, in Jasenova, Slovakia. In 1893 he received his medical degree and his friend Marko Didolić, a Selčanin who owned a winery in Prague, talked him into moving to Brač. He moved to Selca in 1894 and became the local GP.

Dr. Bencur took care of all the inhabitants of Selca, Zaseoci, Povlja, Novo Selo and Sumartin. He was popular and well respected. “He tirelessly did the rounds, covering this large area on his donkey, his ‘terrain vehicle’. He not only treated the poor free of charge, but also helped them out by providing means to eat more healthily.” (Jerčić 1985:7)

He was proficient in the Selca dialect. This gave him insight into the customs and the daily lives of the locals.

The good doctor married a local gal, Perica Didolić who was 19 years his junior.

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This marriage solidified his ties with Selca. He was very well accepted and considered one of their own by the locals.

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The commemorative plaque on the Selca main square

Even though he published articles in Slovakian papers throughout his stay in Selca, the locals knew him as the good doctor and knew nothing of his literaly double-life. He didn’t brag, obviously.

His famous novel Dom v stráni (Dom u strani) depicts life in Selca at the turn of the century.

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And he’s immortalized on a special commemorative 10 Euro Slovak coin, which is pretty cool for a Selčanin ;)

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