Čorak Željka, F.C.A.

Full members VI. Department of Literature
Čorak Željka

Date of birth:

  • 1943

Place of birth:

  • Zagreb


  • Trg Nikole Šubića Zrinskog 11, 10000 Zagreb


  • +385 01 4895 169


Čorak Željka, F.C.A.

Full members VI. Department of Literature

Academic titles:

  • fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (06/14/2018 – …)
  • doctor of Science


  • Scientific adviser – Institute of Art History, Zagreb

Membership in Academy:

  • full member – Department of Literature (05/10/2018 – …)
  • associate member – Department of Fine Arts (05/18/2006 – 05/10/2018)

Željka Čorak was born in Zagreb in 1943, where she attended the Classical Gymnasium and in 1967 graduated in art history and Yugoslav literature. She received her Doctorate in 1976 on the thesis about architect Drago Ibler. She worked as an editor in the Telegram cultural review and until her retirement, worked at the Institute of Art History in.

With her texts, first literary and artistic criticism, she began to appear in the student and professional press in the mid-1960s and immediately distinguished herself with a specific style and rich erudition, and soon a special originality of ideas in the interpretation of modernist tendencies and reassertion of a layered, and often neglected, domestic tradition. In 2006. was elected as associated member of the Fine Arts Department (and was confirmed in this capacity in 2016).

With her first published book Kaleidoscope in the edition of Razlog magazine she joined a generational circle of writers, and at the same time she was distinguished by the diversity of approaches and engagement of the subject matter, advocating for previously under-observed stylistic achievements, and especially for spaces of “long duration” and for the balance of natural and cultural ingredients. She approached the issues of contemporary architecture undogmatically and sought threads of epochal connections and agreements. With a collection of essays and renditions, called Last Year’s Snows, she confirmed herself as an exceptional connoisseur of the most refined streams of European lyricism and various languages and epochs, from troubadours to Renaissance poets, mannerists and Baroqueists to symbolists and contemporaries. Her translations of bound verses, in the form and stanza of the original, were especially successful, despite the difficulty of following often virtuoso metrical norms.Her translation assets include inspired Croatian versions of Baudelaire and Verlaine, Shakespeare and Rilke, Gesualdo da Venos and Folgore da San Gimignano, Antonio Vivaldi and comtesse de Dia, Grytzko Mascioni and Boris A. Novak. And as a translator of prose and essayism, Željka Čorak proved herself with books by Henry Bosco and Umberto Eco, Roland Barthes and Bruno Zevi, Joseph Bedier and others.

The indisputable masterpiece is her book Shards, subtitled as An Annex to the Knowledge of the Croatian Province in the XIX century, but in fact it is anirresistible evocation of the ambience, inhabitants and, especially, the layers of the native environment, written in sequences of poetic prose. Apostrophized with several awards, recognized as the date of Croatian memoir and a statement of elegiac feminyl sensibility, this book is a historical legitimacy of both:  the author and of the period of of Croatian literature (on the eve of the Homeland War). As a result of the engagement in the actions of the Croatian center of the PEN Club, a polemical collection of feuilletons and essays A farewell letter to Mr Mitterand was created. She gathered contributions and studies on the urbanism of her hometown in the book Zagreb, a written space. She combined articles and hyphens, also emphasized literary vocations, published in the journal Vijenac, in a volume called  The Bird of My Tongue.

With the whole of her writing and translation opus, Željka Čorak is truly the caregiver and advocate of the highest stylistic level of her Croatian language.