The mysterious Lucille and letters to Mussolini
How Tin saw his greatest inspiration, the woman who made him lose faith in love and who sent him into madness...
During the First World War, the great poet and recognizable bohemian Tin Ujević stayed in Paris. There he wrote political articles that propagated the idea of Serbian-Croatian unification. During his stay in Paris, he often visited the Serbian embassy. There he saw his greatest inspiration, a woman for whom he completely abandoned the idea of romantic love in the later years of his life.
In Paris, he met Lucille, the stepdaughter of Serbian ambassador Milenko Vesnić. The stepfather fondly called this charismatic girl Lepa. It is not known what developed between the two young people, but it is known that Lucille considered the poet a witty and charming man whom she enjoyed meeting. But the story did not end happily for Ujević, because Lepa married a prominent Romanian banker four years later. Only the collections of love poetry "Lelek sebra" and "Kolajna", which he wrote during his last years in Paris, which he spent in deep depression, could honestly testify to their love. These are the collections that were published ten years later when he was already living in Belgrade. And whether they are really talking about the unfulfilled love of Tino and Lucille, let their readers judge. Nevertheless, letters from that period testify that the great poet in those years, perhaps because of unfulfilled love, was extremely mentally distracted - he was obsessed with conspiracy theories and the thought that he was being persecuted.
Under intense psychological pressure, he loses funding from the Yugoslav Committee, which declares him insane and unfit to write articles. Then, disappointed with the Yugoslavs, he joined the society that gathered in the "Rotondo" and propagated ideas about the annexation of Croatian territory to Italy. He writes a letter to Benito Mussolini, then editor of the Milanese magazine "Il Papolo d'Italia", in which he states that the aspirations of the Italian people towards Dalmatia are just. Enthusiastic Mussolini praises Ujević, calling him "Uljević". At that time, Ujević was abandoned by all former Yugoslav collaborators and unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide several times. He finds solace only in writing poetry. Disappointed in himself and the whole world, he changes his name to Tin and returns to Yugoslavia.
(Jasen Boko: Tin Ujević – biography: thirty years of travel, 2017)