Dr. Zlatan Čolaković: Homerist, Philologist and Researcher

Dr. Zlatan Čolaković ( 1955-2008 ) was a specialist in ancient Greek drama and comparative literature. As a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow he collaborated with Albert B. Lord at Harvard University ( 1984-1988 ) where he transcribed over 90,000 verses of epics from the sound-recordings of the Milman Parry archive. In 1989, 2005, 2007-8 he collected circa 40 hours of Bosniac epics on video, and 50 hours of sound-recordings on the field. In 1991-1993, he founded and led the project "The Essence of Bosniac Epics" sponsored by the Croatian Ministry of Science. His books include Three Eagles of the Tragic World (Tri orla tragičkoga svijeta) (1989), A Dead Head Utters Words (Mrtva glava jezik progovara) (2004; co-author Marina-Rojc Čolaković) and The Epics of Avdo Međedović, A Critical Edition in Two Volumes (Epika Avda Međedovića, Kritičko izdanje, 1-2) (2007). For his scholarly achievements Zlatan Čolaković was presented with the Government of Canada Award. He founded the theory of the Post-Traditonal Homer which significantly diverges from the generally accepted Oral-Formulaic Theory of the Parry-Lord school.


Specialist in ancient Greek drama and comparative literature

Zlatan Čolaković was born in Zagreb on February 13, 1955. He graduated with a degree in Comparative Literature and Philosophy (1979), finished his Masters (1982) and completed his doctorate in 1984, at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Philosophy.

As a Fulbright scholar, from 1984-1988, he worked with Albert Lord at Harvard University in the Slavic division of Widener library. He lectured both at Harvard University and at Waterloo University in Ontario, Canada.

While at Harvard, he worked on the Milman Parry Collection transcribing and editing texts from audio tapes of over 90,000 verses of Bosniac epic songs. At UCLA, in 1988, he held a public lecture based on his comprehensive article "South Slavic Muslim Epics, Problems of Collecting, Editing and Publishing" which was later printed in California Slavic Studies, vol. XIV (Los Angeles-Berkley-Oxford, 1992), in which he proved that there are a number of errors in the transcriptions of Harvard editions containing South Slavic epic songs.

During 1989, he collected Bosniac epics on the field in Montenegro with his wife, Marina Rojc-Čolaković, and was the first scholar to collect full-length Bosniac traditional epic songs on film.

Video Clips

First Video: Murat Kurtagić, the Traditional Singer of Tales, sang The Adultery of Mujo's wife (Nevjera Mujagine ljube), in Rožaje, Montenegro, Zlatan Čolaković's collection, recorded on August 1st, 1989.

Murat Kurtagić knew his tradition very well; he knew all the songs that were sang in his area. He readily retold the stories and legends and knew some Christian songs. In his youth, he sang lyric songs and the accordion. He was also known as a good dancer.

Second Video: Zaim Međedović, the son of Avdo Međedović, sang The Wedding of Bojičić Alija (Ženidba Bojičić Alije), in Stari Bar, Montenegro. Zlatan Čolaković's video collection, recorded on August 12th 2005.

Collected Works

Contact colakovic@msn.com for more information.