Plzeňské sympozia

Blanka Hemelíková

Soup for Poor Children in Satirical Magazines

pp. 114–122 (Czech), Summary p. 123 (English)

The subject of poor people and charity was much frequented and distinct in Czech literature of the 19th century. At the same time, the line of popular philanthropic literature raising the general public’s awareness of charitable  institutions, had its parallel: namely, a “disharmonic” line represented primarily by satirical texts on the theme of charity and related subjects, published in the pages of satirical magazines and in other periodicals’ humour  departments. This particular line, too, was quite obviously aimed at contributing to the modelling of society. Satire is employed there to confront the humanitarian ideal with its practical implementation in real life. This essay is  primarily concerned with demonstrating on typical cases the development of approaches to this subject matter and  the process of radicalization in the satirical perspective during the period from approximately the 1890s until the  outbreak of the First World War. Particular attention is devoted to the duo of canonic figures of this movement,   Jaroslav Hašek and Josef Lada, and the evolution of their interpretations of the theme. Their output demonstrates that the antithesis of ideal versus reality came to be newly manifested not in terms of socially targeted satirical criticism, but rather as an implicit trait of an absurd world, involving in the cases of Hašek and Lada their individual ways of using the methods of slapstick comedy and black humour, without an explicit moralizing message.

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