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Dominik Tatarka: the Slovak Don Quixote

(Freedom and Dreams)


Mária Bátorová

The book deals with the question of resistance to Soviet hegemony in Central Europe after 1968, when Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia. The political and cultural situation in the context of Central Europe is presented through the life and work of the Slovak dissident, the writer Dominik Tatarka, who signed Charta 77 immediately after Václav Havel. For the first time, the wider context of resistance to violence and to intellectual as well as material hegemony is explored here. Using the comparative method, this work considers historical, philosophical and sociological ramifications of this resistance. To understand the issues of dissent means to comprehend the alternative and parallel culture of the 20th century. Thanks to this culture and the efforts of intellectuals in particular, the present-day relatively free conditions for creation and life in general were created. On the basis of the literary work and life of one of the Charta 77 signatories, Dominik Tatarka, this work addresses the topic of dissident literature. By the use of the comparative method Slovak literature is analysed alongside other literatures of Central Europe (e.g. the literature of Czech dissent Václav Havel, Ludvík Vaculík), as well as French (exploring the genetic connection between Dominik Tatarka and Albert Camus). This illustrates the wider context of the idea of freedom and free cultural values characterizing Tatarka’s work.
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About the Author


Mária Bátorová, (Institute of World Literature, Slovak Academy of Sciences and Pedagogical Faculty, Comenius University in Bratislava) specializes in German literature, Slavic literatures and comparative literature. For political reasons she was banned from publishing until 1989. In 1995 – 1998 she taught at the University of Cologne, Germany. In 2011 she founded the Center for research in comparative literature KDĎ at the Pedagogical faculty of Comenius University. In her seven scientific monographs and other articles she studies the problematique of repressed and tabooized themes of Slovak literary history of the 20th Century. Using a new comparative method, she reconstructs the place of Slovak literary modernism in the context of European literary modernism. She is also known as a literary author and essayist. Her works were translated into 8 languages. Her monograph Jozef Cíger Hronský und die europäische Moderne (Jozef Cíger Hronský and European modernism) was published by Peter Lang Publishers in 2004. Her most recent monograph is Dominik Tatarka – slovenský Don Quijote (Dominik Tatarka – The Slovak Don Quijote) was published by Veda in 2012.

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