Electronic Library of Scientific Literature - © Academic Electronic Press


Volume 2000







New Formulation of the Task of a Writer and Writer's Work (1946 – 1956). The Case of Dominik Tatarka

PETRA BOMBÍKOVÁ, Ústav slovenskej literatúry SAV, Bratislava

The article Changing Nature of the Writer's Role and Work (1946-1956): the case of Dominik Tatarka analyses important changes and developments in the social role attributed to Czech and Slovak writers in the period 1946-1956.
Between 1946-1948, an alliance between artists and the new communist regime was genuinely accepted by the majority of left and avant-garde oriented writers. Such writers welcomed the moral authority lent to them by becoming an official voice of the revolution, as well as the significant material support they received from the state.
However, after 1948 the communist regime took full charge of this alliance. In official discourse writers were bound to fight alongside the proletariat for the success of the revolution. Their position was two-fold: on one hand, they were expected to educate the proletariat through literary works which presented examples of positive role models and their success. On the other hand, writers themselves as post-bourgeois individualists had to be educated in order to free themselves from “individualist” and “subjectivist” modes of thinking and from old “bohemian” habits. Official documents referred to the work of writers in language typical of prevailing state economic discourse –, the language of “plans”, “extending production”, “collectivisation” etc. A writer was described as a “labourer on the field of literature”.
However, as soon as 1955-56 some Slovak writers started to question the allotted social role of a writer and the role accorded to art in general. They spoke out against the idea of a writer as a “fighter” and sought to substitute it with the concept of a writer as the "conscience" of the nation.

The Slovak Drama in 1970 – 1989

BOŽENA ČAHOJOVÁ, Činoherná a bábkarska fakulta VŠMU, Bratislava

The author follows Slovak drama in the years when Socialist Realism was violently introduced into its organism. Due to its influence it was left outside the main development streams in the world. B. Čahojová records consequences that this process left behind itself in the dramatic works. She pays attention first of all to twenty years long absence of the playwright Peter Karvaš in Slovak theatres and to the violent end of the activity of the theatre Divadlo na Korze. Two chain links through which Slovak drama and theatre had by then been crystallized the most apparently started to vanish from the official theatre life.
The author demonstrates on the particular works the basic signs of Socialist Realism. She pays attention to the simplifying starting points, to negation of human individuality, to the loss of identity and to reducing of the right of free expression.
Along with the stream of Socialist Realism which was given the space in the centres of theatre activity there was formed also a stream in which we encounter with returns to Modernism and with permeating of its streams into the works of the Postmodernists. B. Čahojová records the way in which Slovak drama matured in this stream. It was coming back to the more complicated terminology. It reflects phenomena which formed and deformed man. They caused uprootedness of man, his inability to communicate. She states that whereas at the turn of 1980s and 1990s Socialist Realism is dying away, drama influenced by postmodern thinking experiences its boom. Slovak drama connected more intensively with the development of drama in the world through the works of the Postmodernists. It became an equal partner for the theatre circles.

Possible Stories

TOMÁŠ HORVÁTH, Ústav slovenskej literatúry SAV, Bratislava

In the article the author interprets the textual mechanism of the short story The Hawk (Sokol) (1970) by Dušan Mitana. The plot enables the inference of several alternative, contradictory stories. The narrative structure works with flashaheads, flashforwards, splits („white places“, Iser) and personal narrative form (Stanzel), and this is the reason why the reader’s reconstruction of the story requires his activity. The mechanism of the text prescribes to the model reader in a certain phase of reading to infer two alternative scenarios from the plot („uncle plans the commiting of murder of aunt“ versus „this is only the paranoid suspicion of the jealous nephew“), from which the last seems to be more probable. (The single indices in text belongs to two different orders of these alternative scenarios.) But if the reader has to choose one from these scenarios, the plot is the trap for reader: the final motive („aunt was killed by the hydrophobic dog, which belongs to aunt and uncle“) is not the verification of one of scenarios, but the „draw“ between them (the story is an undecidable structure of alternative scenarios). Such text has a structure of „open work“ (Eco). The question „What really happened?“ is not at the end answered.

Ján Sambucus in the History of Genres Emblem and Epigram

PAVOL KOPRDA, Ústav svetovej literatúry SAV, Bratislava

The article Ján Sambucus in the History of Genres Emblem and Epigram has two aims. It brings forth a survey of history of these genres in the late Renaissance and a survey of recent reflection of emblematics by which it aims at showing Slovak reader the place of Sambucus in the history of these genres. The second aim is to use problems of the genre of emblems for discussing the presence of non-verbal elements in literary communication. For historical situating of the author it is used especially the publication L'embleme a la Rénaissance. Actes de la Journée d'études du 10 mai 1980 publiés par Yves Giraud. Paris, C.D.U. 1982 and the essay published in it by A. Stegmann Les Théories de l'embleme et de la devise en France et en Italie (1520 – 1560). It shows Sambucus as a follower of the founder of modern emblematics A. Alciates. According to Stegmann the original sense of encounter of poetical and visual fine arts elements of emblem was to explain the „inscription“ inside or above emblem with two linguistic systems. The inscription thus proves that written language carries in itself elements of non-verbal communication. Alciates and Sambucus try to put into practice this original sense of genre of emblems. In the period after Sambucus and Paolo Giovius emblems started to be interpreted as a subordinate discipline of heraldry. History of literature is in a difficult way contaminated all along with consciousness that a literary text contains in itself not only an immanent structure expressible with spoken language but also a memory of its origin. It means that it was based by the will of man and thus it is in-original, it is not metahistorical. These two consciousnesses of literature (literature as a beauty of verbal symbol and literature as expression of memory on the will origin of structure) do not live in friendly symbiosis. Their conflict-like coexistence creates history of the genre of emblems but also history of literature as such. The author shows it on quotations from the works by Italo Calvino, Anton Vantuch and especially with the help of the work by Salomone Piazza L'epigramma latino. Parte prima.Padova, Fratelli Drucker 1898.

Sources and Meanings of Myths in the Novel Nevesta hôľ (The Bride of Valleys)

JANA KUZMÍKOVÁ, Ústav slovenskej literatúry SAV, Bratislava

František Švantner during writing the work Nevesta hôľ (The Bride of Valleys) based this work on the work by J. Ružička Slavoic Mythology. Then there are stated also other basic sources of mythologism of Nevesta hôľ and there are shown their other semantic uses. It is stated that all psychic conditions of the protagonist of this work, Libor, are motivated by the intervenece of a half-real character Zuna into various spheres of his conscious and uncoscious. From these two spheres of the protagonist's psyche there are created two basic plot lines in his narrative on „love and revenge“. The former is represented by archetypal-mythological and folk-lore-Christian point of view regarding the problems of the sense of human life. The slatter plot line which is connected with the main character's reflecting his complicated mission (to save the conjured nature's dauighter Zuna and through her all nature - the „ewild world“). In this way he creates philosophical-noetical plane of the story of man's maturing. These two genetically heterogenous plot lines are often intertwining which complicates the interpretation of the studied work. The aim of this article has been to divide these two plot lines and thus to try to analyze more precisely symbolical and alegorical meanings of this extraordinary work of Slovak literature.

Motives of the Body in the Poetry of Slovak Romanticist Poets (Samo Chgalupka, Andrej Sládkovič, Ján Botto, Janko Kráľ, Samo Bohdan Hroboň)

IRENA MALEC, Ústav slovenskej literatúry SAV, Bratislava

The critical essay is a part of doctoral thesis Topos of the Body in the Poetry of Slovak Romanticism (Samo Chalupka, Ján Botto, Janko Kráľ, Samo Bohdan Hroboň). It is oriented on the new point of view from which to look at the Slovak Romanticist poetry through tracing the functional use of the topos of the body and its physicality. The starting point of the essay is an attempt to define the attitude of the particular authors towards knowing the body and physicality and to answer the question whether the body in their works is a sign of physicality. The background of the concept of the author's attitude to motifs of the body and physicality were contemporary relations subject - object, part - whole. The essay point to contexts in which motifs of the body are present or absent and what semiotic load they bear.
Contemporary teleologization of literary work made an immense impact of Romantical attitude towards the body and physicality. Slovak Romantical rhetoric (especially Chalupka, Sládkovič and Botto) covers that which is spontaneous, biological and consciously works with characters as culturally modelled, unified dolls without giving them the space for their own individual expression. The exception is represented by a few margin characters (e.g. J. Kráľ's dark „weird“ characters or Hroboň's old man – beggar).

Lyrical Poetry as a „Paradigm“ of Reading

FEDOR MATEJOV, Ústav slovenskej literatúry SAV, Bratislava

The text deals with lyrical poetry as a „paradigm“ of intepretation reading in Slovak literary scholarship and criticism. It goes in four steps. 1. It brings a short retrospective of authors and impulses from this field for the last fifty years on the background of aesthetic and poetological structuralism as a determining tradition. 2. It tries to list terms and criteria according to which they were defined which spontaneously and productively enters reflections on widely conceived contemporary poetry beyond usual, versological, stylistic and genological terms codified by various manuals. 3. The text sees a challenge for this domestic tradition in the deconstruction of P. de Man, especially in his reflections on non-self-evidence of subject in lyrical text, of its „voice“ and gestures. 4. These matters are followed in detailed reading of debut poem of Slovak poet J. Ondruš Sobota (Saturday) from 1956. This reading is poetologically situated into the terrain of deconstruction of post-symbolism in Slovak poetry of the second half of the 20th century.

Natural World and Autobiographical Writing I. Kadlečík

PAVEL MATEJOVIČ, Ústav slovenskej literatúry SAV, Bratislava

The author deals in his article with the problems of autobiographical writing, especially in Czech and Slovak literary context. Thinking about autobiographical writing develops from Patočka’s philosophical conception of „natural world“ oriented on reflection of motifs of casual character and everyday life standing in opposition against objectivistic models. The work is focused especially on the works of Ivan Kadlečík on which the author applies his methodological starting points. The text of its article represents a part of a monograph on this writer. The author reconstructs crucial motifs, themes, symbolical meanings and names present in the works of Ivan Kadlečík. His attention is paid especially to a definition of the term „bricolage“ as a way of writing through which one can understand some crucial motifs creating the dominant part of the works of Ivan Kadlečík.

Zechenter-Laskomerský in Dobšinský’s Sokol

MARTIN MICHÁLEK, Ústav slovenskej literatúry SAV, Bratislava

The paper maps in detail texts by G.K. Zechenter-Laskomerský (1824-1908) published in two volumes of literary journal Sokol, published and edited by P. Dobšinský from 1860 till 1861. Social and literary context of 50’s-60’s of 19th century is characterised with emphasis on the role of the journal in preserving the continuity with literary activities from the period of Romanticism. It deals with all Zechenter’s contributions, from short satirical dialogues reflecting contemporary society and essays on theatre to two short stories First Dance and Holliday Travelling which are of great importance in the evolution of author’s prosaic texts. Interpretation of the humoristic short stories emphasizes the entertaining function achieved through specific use of detailed descriptions and lack of plot in the narration. Zechenter’s method, even in his early works, foreshadowed not only his future literary activities but also possibilities of regrouping exhausted literary-aesthetic techniques of Romanticist period into a new configuration pointing to the realistic mode of writitng.

The Problematic Realism of Jozef-Gregor Tajovský

MARCELA MIKULOVÁ, Ústav slovenskej literatúry SAV, Bratislava

Now that we are able to abandon tendencies to group almost the whole of Slovak literature under the heading of realism, we can attempt to shed light on the works of Jozef Gregor Tajovský without implementing preconceived notions. Our study closely follows contemporary data on realism, classification and characterization of Tajovský in the context of Slovak literature, revealing the questionable nature of the „typical realist“ label. Tajovský’s fiction, which he started to write after failing to achieve success with his poetry, mercilessly depicts the impossibility to sustain village world harmonization on the one hand, and is a space for self-identification on the other. He breaks contemporary literary conventions of theme, language and genre. His short fictions become an alternative to modern synthetism, evoking multi-layered model of world and individual existence through chaos of reality shreds and fragments. Following this aspect, Tajovský is in his emotional make-up and poetics close to the generation of Slovak modernism.

Autocensorship of the Second and Later Editions of Books in 1950s

VLADIMÍR PETRÍK, Ústav slovenskej literatúry SAV, Bratislava

One of the side effects of the new cultural situation after the coup d'etat in February 1948 was a return of some authors to their own texts in book editions published after 1945 or a little bit earlier. These returns resulted in changed parts of these texts. These authors either shortened theme or they cut them altogether or else they re-wrote them totally. In this contribution the first and later editions of the subesquent books are compared from the point of view of their editorial preparation: Fraňo Kráľ: Verše (Verses), František Hečko: Červené víno (Red Wine), Margita Figuli: Tri gaštanové kone (Three Brown Horses), Babylon, and Dominik Tatarka: Farská republika (The Republic of Priests). Authorial changes of the texts were connected with the religious motifs, erotical scenes, pessimism and individualism. After 1948 the tendencies approaching atheism were welcomed. Eroticism was regarded as an expression of the bourgeois decadence. The intellectual-like individualism and pessimism should have been replaced with the expressions of the team spirit and historical optimism. In the spirit of these demands the authors changed the original editions. They were changes from the outside without taking itno account the inherent rules of art. One can say they impoverished and deformed the texts of the first editions. The mentioned works have been published deformed like this until this day. In the future we shall have to return to the original version even if it is against the editorial principles.

On Youth Fiction

STANISLAV RAKÚS, Filozofická fakulta PU, Prešov

The author uses the material of Mark Twain’s novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to follow the artistic and age ambivalence of juvenile prose. He deals with the difference and co-operation of its personal and medial aspect, with organising principles securing the unity of plausiblitity and effectiveness, as well as with universality and gnomic energy of the interpreted texts.

On Expression and Meaning in Communication Aesthetics

STANISLAV RAKÚS, Filozofická fakulta PU, Prešov

The author interprets the problems from the point of view of communication aesthetics. Agreement between production and reception line of the work of art safeguarding compatibility of expression and meaning in literary and especially in „plot“ text takes place via proxemics, inversion and equivalent substitution as systems in which one speaks through aposiopesis and with something else.

Germaness“ through the Eyes of Slovak Writers. Characteristic Features and Development (1810 – 1940)

MARCELA SEMAŇÁKOVÁ, Fakulta novej filológie v Tübingene, SRN

The paper draws attention to the problem of „Germaness“ in the works of Slovak writers (J. Čaplovič, J. Kollár, J. M.Hurban, Ľ Štúr, J. Záborský, S. H. Vajanský, T. Vansová, J. Jesenský, J. Hrušovský). The term „Germaness“ covers German ethnic community including Germans living on Slovak territory, „Reichsgermans“ and Austrians as well as German culture, traditions and character. First contact between Slovaks and „Germaness“, which was perceived very negatively in Slovak literature, was the destruction of Great Moravian Empire by the Frank Empire. Here are the origins of the bad image of „bloodthirsty“ Germans.
The paper focuses on analysis of 19th century. Its first half was a time when a positive image of German culture and „Germaness“ was created. 40’s through 60’s are marked by political cooperation between Slovaks and Austrian monarchy (support from Vienna acted as a counterbalance to the preassure of increasing Hungarian demands), but the following period (1867 – 90’s) is again under strong influence of negative image of „Germaness“ (Bismarck’s Germany officialy supported Hungarians in Austria-Hungary which provoked sharp condemnation from Slovak political representation). Based on research of specific material the author demonstrates when and how individual author’s attitudes oscillated between anger over German spirit of aggresion (the image of bad and dangerous Germany) and admiration towards German philosophy, culture, education („Germaness“ as a spiritual, cultural and aesthetic model).

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