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The Czech Avant-Garde Literary Movement Between the World Wars

edited by Ondrej Sládek and Michael Heim

Thomas G. Winner

Edited By Ondrej Sládek and Michael Heim

The Czech Avant-Garde Literary Movement Between the Two World Wars tells the little-known story of the renaissance of Czech literary arts in the period between the two world wars. The avant-garde writers during this period broke down the barrier between the elite literary language and the vernacular and turned to spoken language, substandard forms, everyday sources such as newspapers and detective stories, and forms of popular entertainment such as the circus and the cabaret. In his analyses of the writings of this period, Thomas G. Winner illuminates the aesthetic and linguistic characteristics of these works and shows how poetry and linguistics can be combined. The Czech Avant-Garde Literary Movement Between the Two World Wars is essential reading for courses on modern Czech literature, comparative literature, and Slavic literature.
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Chapter One. Prologue: The Antecedents


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Prologue: The Antecedents

When the rich artistic life of the 1960s burst upon the Czechoslovak scene during the brief period of cultural relaxation accompanying the Prague Spring, it appeared to the outside world as a sudden event that had been born ex nihilo. But it had a complex preparation in the Czech interwar avant-garde. The 1920s and 1930s were a period of splendid artistic creativity, providing the soil for such later artistic creations as the plays of Václav Havel, the prose of Josef Škvorecký, Milan Kundera, Ladislav Fuks, and Bohumil Hrabal, the poetry of Jaroslav Seifert and Vítězslav Nezval, the films of Miloš Forman, Jan Kadár, Elmar Klos, and Jan Němec, and the visual arts of Jan Kotík and Mikuláš Medek. The fertile period of the 1920s and 1930s with its buoyant artistic experimentation is the subject of this book.

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