Guide Povídky: Short Stories by Czech Women (Short Stories by Women from Around the World)

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Such a miracle-trick was in fact widely reported by the communist media in , in the first months of fierce persecution in Czechoslovakia by the authorities, not long after the communist takeover of February This "miracle" was politically misused by the Czechoslovak secret police as a pretext for the persecution of the clergy. The second "miracle" is the rise of the Czechoslovak reform movement during the Prague Spring and its failure.

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The critical reaction of some readers in Czechoslovakia may have been the result of reading without full concentration. Thus misunderstandings of the text arose.

Majerová, Marie (–) |

Not very many people noticed that the somewhat mocking, almost cynical attitude towards the events of the Prague Spring was not the attitude of the author, but of the narrator. The novel contains a number of unforgettable anecdotes, which in a nutshell capture the atmosphere of the times out of joint. In one episode, for instance, Soviet author Arashidov meets a left-wing British "angry young" author at a literary congress in Vienna and during a drunken session explains to him to the absolutely stunned Westerner the incredibly complex strategy he had to undertake in order to be able to persuade the literary powers that be in Moscow to allow the young British author's novella to be published in Russian translation.

This type of writing deals primarily with the clash of an immigrant's experiences and value system with the civilisation of a new country "Emigrating is like being born again, this time without childhood", Czech author and folk singer Jaroslav Hutka and with the process of integration with the new environment.

The main theme of the novel is the non-transferability of human experience. The bitter lessons, learned by the Central Europeans in the crucible of life of the twentieth century, are impossible to communicate to the generation of often somewhat indolent, carefree youngsters in Canada. The novel contains a number of comic conflicts, based on misperception, which are the result of different life experiences by different characters. The author's knowledge of both the Czechoslovak and the Canadian environment makes it possible for him to highlight certain typical features of human behaviour which recur regardless of a particular political situation.

Writers under communism were seen a s propaganda workers. It was their task to fictionalise the main tenets of communist ideology. Thanks to letters from people from his Czechoslovak past, Danny is able to follow the grotesque and tragic story lines of their lives even after his departure from Czechoslovakia. This enables him to compare the quality of life in his democratic exile with that under a totalitarian regime. Th e main characters and most of its plots are Czech, but the general frame of each of the seven chapters is derived from the Anglo-Saxon literary tradition. The chapters are are given the names of the authors read and analysed by Danny and his students in class: Poe, Hawthorne, Twain, Crane, Fitzgerald, Conrad, and Lovecraft.

Danny as a university lecturer projects many of his experiences into his seminars on literature. These classroom discussions with his students are just as important as the concrete personal histories of the characters. It is in these classes that the difference between the American and European understanding of history is highlighted. The award was given to a translation for the first time in history. To a large degree, this was due to Bassaxofon which for a time came to be hailed in the United States as an important contribution to jazz literature. The "text of the most important things in life".

The collection of six short stories is a series which grew from an earlier, single twenty page text from the s. The comedy of these stories is based upon on the emergence of sudden unexpected, unsolvable problems, whose absurdity the author develops further and further with the help of his imagination. The backbone of the texts is formed by colloquial conversational variations, "teenage chatting", which is seemingly free-wheeling and laid back, but has a sophisticated underlying structure. The stories are based on human decency and have a strong lyrical streak.

Their comedy is thrown into sharp focus by the fact that free and easy teenage life exists on the fringe of omnipresent Nazi brutality, which however intrudes upon the scene only rarely and implicitly. Yeats: "Man may embody truth, but he cannot know it.

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It is a novel about the mysterious and unknowable essence of the creative genius, about love and about death. He uses documentary material which he transforms thematically and stylistically with the instrument of his imagination. At the same time, he is trying to create the illusion that he is telling a s tory which has really happened. The objective narrative is often interrupted by passages written in various formal techniques and language styles, e.

The "documentary" aspect of the novel is emphasised by period engravings and photographs. Gradually, a complex image of the United S tates and Bohemia at the end of the 19th century arises from these "personal testimonies". B ut the memories of individual protagonists broaden the scope of the novel far into the past and into the future. Scherzo capriccioso is primarily an affectionate portrait of the United States, written by an immigrant. He also takes a spirited stand against injustice.

He is strongly moved by the predicament of talented black people who could not realise their talent in the United States in the 18th and in the 19th centuries because of the prevailing racial prejudice. Sometimes, the author gently caricatures this, for instance when describing the long struggle of the Czech beer-loving immigrants against alcohol prohibition. One Czech settler speaks thus: "As our great President Lincoln once said, you can hoodwink all of the people some of the time, and some people you can hoodwink all of the time, but you can't go on hoodwinking all of the people for ever.

And as it turned out, the will of the people won out, and it's so wet now, Professor, that it almost makes you want to turn prohib, just to preserve your health. It is impossible, in his view, to intellectualise about art: the only thing one can do is to show one's humility before its incomprehensible and magic mystery.

The bitterest stories in the book are those of gifted blacks who find it impossible to develop and cultivate their talents, while the establishment heaps its privileges on limited people with the right social background. But in every major war there was a contingent of Czechs who fought against Austria or Germany - the Czech airmen, for instance, who took part in the Battle of Britain distinguished themselves very much indeed.

Povidky : Short Stories by Czech Women

There was such a contingent in the Civil War in the Union army. It was a glorious return. The creative and the publishing activities of the married couple were awarded by the highest state award for foreigners - the Order of the White Lion. Significantly, this last volume, brought out by 68 Publishers Toronto as publication No. So she was cleared of that suspicion, but it did terrible things to her. This detective story was written early in and is a semi-fictional reaction to his wife's accusation of colaboration with the Czechoslovak secret police. Every day, the media compile lists of news-items whose informational value is minimal.

Their purpose is to make readers, listeners and television viewers participate in information rituals, created by the newsmedia, and absorb the required portion of advertising. The information from the media must be short and titillating. Names and slogans are the most concise. People living in the Czech Republic have been hardened over the years by the nastiness of the conditions, prevailing locally, and so they can ignore post-communist dirt quite successfully. Decent Czech exiles however have lost this imunity.

Beginning in the s and ending circa , the novel is set in the industrial and mining center of Kladno that she knew so well from her early years. A linchpin of the novel is the powerful personality of Mrs. Hudcovka, whose village origins provide the cultural energies essential for her to fill the roles of mother, wife, and daughter-in-law of the workers and revolutionaries who appear in the novel. Written mostly in a naturalistic style, the novel also includes lyrical elements, possibly reflecting the newly emerging Soviet literary ideal of Socialist Realism.

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  7. Her description of the strike, which she had witnessed as a young woman, resembles an eyewitness account and has been viewed by some critics as the novel's artistic high point. After the Communists seized power in Czechoslovakia in , the work became required reading in the nation's schools, was extolled by the Marxist literary establishment, and was used as a standard text in the indoctrination of Communist Party cadres. By , the novel had become an unchallenged classic. The book was well known in the eastern bloc and particularly popular in the Soviet Union thanks to a Russian-language translation.

    It was also made into a film that was shown in Czechoslovakia and throughout the bloc. Despite some critics who regarded its style as artificial and bombastic, it too became a classic work in the postwar years, when the goal of the Marxist government in Prague was the creation of a new and distinctly proletarian culture for the entire Czechoslovak Republic. After the country's liberation, she was hailed as one of the nation's artistic giants and in was awarded the title of National Artist of Czechoslovakia.

    Most critics feel that the second version is much inferior artistically to the original of In her last collection of short stories, Cesta blesku The Path of Lightning , published in , all of the characters zealously follow the party line to help create an ideal socialist society.

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    When she died in Prague on January 16, , she was eulogized as a major personality of modern Czech literature. The collapse of Communism in Czechoslovakia during , however, has dealt a major blow to her reputation. Some critics, including Peter Hruby, simply dismiss her as a "third-rate writer" who was decreed without debate to be "a national socialist classic" by the Czech Communist Party and regime.

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    Regardless of such major differences in critical assessments, her impact on Czechoslovakia in the midth century remains unmistakable. Pynsent and S. Kanikova, eds. NY: HarperCollins, , pp. Hruby, Peter. NY: Columbia University Press, Ballad of a Miner. Translated by Roberta Finlayson Samsour. Prague: Artia,