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


The course is a continuation of C363 and covers a period of Czech and
Slovak literature 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 (Bezina et
al.), decadent (Hlavek et al.), social (Wolker et al.), poetist (Nezval
etal.) 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 (alda) and the diverse trends in narrative
prose as found in the novel of World War I (Haek), the psychological,
social and philosophical novel between the wars (apek, Olbracht et al.),
the ornamental prose (Durych, Vanura), as well as the political novel of
the Communist regime (Kundera, Hrabal, Vaculk 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.