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 Rom
anesque 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 fol
klore 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 outstand
ing 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. W
ithin 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 paint
ers.

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.