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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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9. Political systems of the 20th century and Tatarka’s Community of God



       Political systems of the 20th century and Tatarka’s Community of God

“I am rushing to extinction, my personal destruction, with the freedom of a falling fifty-year-old stone. Before the final fall beneath the surface of the lake the opportunity arose to publicly pronounce my dream out loud, my ideal for social order, the order of this, my republic, so that it is an internally free and just republic, not a dehumanized state mechanism grinding down humanity.”

Dominik Tatarka: “Obec Božia” (“Community of God”)1

Every creative artist has his own “archai”, his own organic being, kindred identity, which is individual and at the same time so universal that it is capable of absorbing and also influencing. It is this particular creative “I” that joins the modern with the traditional. A writer’s style is thus found in the selection of words and in their arrangement expressing his nature, his person and social identity; this is the sum of his innate gifts and those acquired in childhood and later, as well as aspects which he expresses in his own way through artistic means. To determine the character and type of writer, his specifics, is essential in the case of Dominik Tatarka, because he did not authorize some of his work at the end of his life, and so literary scholars have subsequently battled over the authorship of some works which may be credited to him.

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