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Dominik Tatarka: the Slovak Don Quixote

(Freedom and Dreams)

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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 20 th 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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6. The relationship of nature and culture in Slovak literary modernism (Comparison of the nature-culture relationship in the work of J. C. Hronský and D. Tatarka)

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       6.

       The relationship of nature and culture in Slovak literary modernism

       (Comparison of the nature-culture relationship in the work of J.C. Hronský and D. Tatarka)

When Marcel Duchamp declared a urinal was an artistic object, his statement operated on two levels: it referred to the sovereignty of the artistic subject, its strength and weight, as well as to the possibilities of applied art to make everyday objects artistic in nature. Modernism deals with both of these: the sovereignty of the artist, his independence and the emphasis on the person; and generally the creativity of everyone, even the non-artist, as art touches on the quotidian of life. Of course this disrupts traditional criteria of artistic criticism. At the same time, art has become more democratic and given people the opportunity to create their own individual artistic style.

The “dissolution of norms” of heroic modernism as the modern age develops recalls the dissolution of the strict Classical canon at the start of the Romantic era; hence the Modernist is seen as a neo-Romantic movement. It connects ‘high’ art with ‘low’, with everyday life and applied art. The idea of mass reproduction of art as formulated in Passagenwerk (The Arcades Project)by Walter Benjamin and subsequently by A. Warhol came later.

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