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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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Research into the life and work of Dominik Tatarka fell into the author’s field of research for her dissertation.. Therefore, even before 1988, when Tatarka’s name could again be found in publications, she had brought to the Fine Arts Institute of the SAV an analysis of the novella Pach as part of her contribution to the conference “Vojna v umení umenie vo vojne” (“War in the Arts, the Arts in War”):

BÁTOROVÁ, M.: Reflexia doby v slovenskom kultúrnom a literárnom živote rokov 1938 – 1945. Umenovedný ústav SAV, Bratislava 1989, pp. 121 – 132

This research later became part of the published dissertation Roky úzkosti a vzopätia. Causa editio, Bratislava 1992

The author has presented the studies forming parts of this monograph at both domestic and international scholarly fora. These are published in academic journals in Slovakia and abroad:

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