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 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 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.