Arkadije Pejic

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Arkadije Pejic
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  • Actor
  • Merchant

Arkadije Pejić (Serbian Cyrillic: Аркадије Пејић; 1773-1867) was an early Serbian actor and merchant whose name, along with Marko Jelisejic, is part of the theatrical life before Joakim Vujić. From Arkadije Pejic's early teens until he retired from the theater in 1800, he was seen as an acclaimed actor, producer, and theater manager. The rest of his long life was spent as a successful merchant, though he continued going to the theater and supporting it in many ways.

In the Habsburg Monarchy where many European nations of today did not exist (namely Serbia) as separate states only as boroughs of the Habsburg Monarchy of the past, by the 17th century, the cultural phenomenon of the non-professional literati and artists in that early period of so-called modernity a phenomenon of amateurship developed, known as amateur among intellectuals, social and cultural ethnic groups across the empire, also known as the Holy Roman Empire. These dilettante dedicated their time, energy, and resources to poetry, visual arts, sciences, and some, like Arkadije Pejić and Marko Jeliseijic, the theater. Gradually, the dilettante gained the same regard and relevance of modern-day professionals as the time came to pass. The Enlightenment could be called that "amateur's era" when the creation of many such exclusive societies took place.[1]

Arkadije Pejic's debut in the theater appeared in 1783 with theater manager Marko Jelisejic and his amateur theater company in Veliki Beckerek which was comprised of Gymnasium (school) students who toured from town to town in the then Austrian Empire performing medieval plays during the summer months. Arkadije Pejić was the youngest actor among them, and a member of the touring stage society.[2]Jelisejic's theatrical productions were highly acclaimed by the public and critics alike. The actor who was most cited in the press bar anyone else was the young Arkadije Pejic, who would remain Marko Jelisejic's long-life friend. In the 1830s, Arkadije published two of Jelisejić's drama adaptations of -- "Peter the Great" and Jean-Francois Marmontel banned novel "Bélisaire" -- at his own expense.[3][1]

As an actor, it can be said that Joakim Vujić was preceded by Arkadije Pejić.


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