Slavic Languages and Literatures | Literature and Culture of the Czechs and Slovaks 1
C363 | ALL | Volkova


While covering the history of the Czech and Slovak culture, the core of
this course is the development of literature, music and visual arts.
Also a brief survey of Czech and Slovak history is given. The course
covers the development until the 1890s.

Starting with the beginning of Slavic culture in the Czech and Slovak
lands - the 9th century Great Moravian Empire made famous by the
linguistic and literary work of St. Cyril and St. Methodius - the course
deals with the Czech and Slovak products of Romanesque and Gothic
culture, both in Old Church Slavic, Latin and in Czech. Special emphasis
is placed on the flowering of Czech Literature, architecture and
painting in the period of the Luxemburg dynasty, when Bohemia became the
center of the Holy Roman Empire. The importance of John Hus (1379-1415),
the founder of the Czech Reformation is further taken up, together with
his successors, the Union of Czech Brethern, headed by J.A.Komensk
(Comenius).

The following period of the Czech cultural heritage is closely
associated with Baroque culture which prevailed in the Czech lands from
the end of the sixteenth to the end of the eighteenth centuries. It was
rich in architecture, painting, etching, and folklore which was the main
representative of the Czech and Slovak national consciousness in this
period of extreme suppression of the Czechs by the Germans.

The nineteenth century, which was marked by the influence of
enlightenment, the French Revolution, German romanticism and the
original concept of Slavism aroused by the writing of Herder, receives
the greatest emphasis in this course. A number of outstanding
representatives of this period are portrayed: J.Dobrovsk, the founder of
Slavic studies; the poet K.H.Mcha who is closely related in his poetry
with Lord Byron and Adam Mickiewicz; the historian F. Palack and others.
While the elements of romanticism continued to linger almost until the
end of the nineteenth century, the year 1848 represents a milestone in
Czech culture and political history. It marks the first attempt of the
Czechs and Slovaks to assert themselves in the political arena of
Austria. Within a short period of time, Czech literature produced a
number of outstanding realist and naturalist poets and novelists.
Equally important and better known outside the country are the composers
B. Smetana and A. Dvok, as well as the impressionist painters.

The course is a combination of a survey and discussions on selected
texts in its main corpus. Periodical sessions with pictures and slides
illustrating the achievements in the visual arts, as well as
music-appreciation sessions are scheduled. The relation ship of the
Czech and Slovak cultures to the other European cultures is
systematically explored.

Requirements: Graduates - one paper around 15 pages. Undergraduates the
same, or two papers around 7 pages each. Midterm and Final essay exam.
Some semesters, periodic tests are given when class is predominantly
undergraduate.