Shorthand Notes and Excerpts of Martin Kukučín


These shorthand notes and excerpts are in the hand of Martin Kukučín, pseudonym of Matej Bencúr (1860−1928), an important representative of Slovak literary realism. Kukučín worked as a physician in Prague, Croatia, and later in South America. In his literary estate are found, in addition to his original manuscript works in Slovak, records in shorthand script. Kukučín used several different types of shorthand fonts which he enriched with his own shorthand characters. His notes thus were incomprehensible to other readers. In 1943, cryptographer and librarian Ladislav Lorenc undertook to decipher Kukučín’s notes. By the time of his death in 1964, Lorenc was able to rewrite most of Kukučin’s stenographic records. It is assumed that Kukučín started using stenography in 1910 in his medical practice, while writing prescriptions and documenting medical procedures. Eventually, this type of handwriting came so naturally to him that he used it while writing his literary works, excerpts, and notes.

Last updated: January 16, 2015