Slavic Languages and Literatures | Literature and Culture of the Czechs and Slovaks 2
C364 | ALL | Volkova


The course is a continuation of C363 and covers a period of Czech and
Slovakliterature and culture from the 1890's to the present day.

The modern trends in poetry, which in Czechoslovakia produced an
extraordinary number of outstanding poets, are discussed on the basis
of readings from anthologies of translations. The best symbolist
(Brezina et al.), decadent (Hlavek et al.), social (Wolker et al.),
poetist (Nezval et al.) and spiritualist (Holan et al.) poets are
analyzed, as well as the poets of the post-World War II period. The
course further covers the new Czech literary criticism (Salda) and
the diverse trends in narrative prose as found in the novel of World
War I (Hasek), the psychological, social and philosophical novel
between the wars (Capek, Olbracht et al.), the ornamental prose
(Durych, Vancura), as well as the political novel of the Communist
regime (Kundera, Hrabal, Vaculik et al.) There are sessions on Slovak
culture, on Jewish culture in Czechoslovakia (Kafka, Orten, Werfel et
al.) and on the evolution of the theater and film, as well as
sessions on the music of the 20th century, on the achievements of
visual arts and on the philosophical views of T.G. Masaryk. The
contributions of the world famous Prague School of Linguistics and
Poetics are discussed in a special session as well. The historical
background is continually explored, focusing on the formation of the
independent Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, the German occupation of
1939, the Communist takeover in 1948, the development from Stalinism
to "Socialism with a human face", the Russian invasion in 1968 and
its aftermath, and finally the Revolution of 1989. The course gives
the students a comprehensive picture of the development of modern
Czechoslovakia in all cultural fields. It is a combination of a
survey and discussion, with music appreciation sessions and a visual
arts presentation. Constant attention is paid to the relation of the
Czech literature and culture to its European context and its
specificity within it.

Requirements: 1 paper around 15 pages, class participation, midterm
and final exam.