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Vladimir Petrik. Contemporary Slovak Literature.

Vladimir Petrik. Contemporary Slovak Literature. Sharon Miklosova, tr. Bratislava, Slovakia. Center for Information on Literature. 2003. 20 pages. ISBN 80-88878-76-4

THIS HANDY IF BRIEF GUIDE to Slovak writing begins by dividing writers trader communism into "legal, dissident, and emigre" and gives a paragraph each to the dissident Dominik Tatarka and the emigre Ladislav Mnacko before moving on to writers (and schools) who were more or less tolerated, except for those who were not.

The second section, "After 1989: The Search for a New Contract between Authors and Readers," deals with the effects on writers of democracy and a market economy, the new publication of previously suppressed or 1945-48 emigre work, much of the latter Christian in orientation, and a confused mixture of new work.

Petrik then moves, in "Liberating Laughter Instead of Ideology," to writers who no longer could regard themselves as "the conscience of the nation," as in the nineteenth century, or as "the engineer[s] of human souls," as socialism described them. Here, most attention is given to prose writers Rudolf Sloboda, Pavel Vilikovsky Dusan Mitana, Dusan Dusek, Jan Johanides, Pavel Hruz, and Ivan Kadlecik.

The final section, "The New Generation's Skepticism," lists a number of poets from the previous group, new prose writers, and a few poets and feminist writers.

Unfortunately, there is no bibliography of work available in English, but since in the 1990s only ten Slovak works were translated into that language, and only two in the United States and United Kingdom, this is not a major omission. At least the pamphlet can act as a finding list for readers drawn to the descriptions of the writers and their works.
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Author:Davis, Robert Murray
Publication:World Literature Today
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2004
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