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 (Wolk
er 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 (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 Slova
k 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. Masa
ryk. 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 i
s 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.