Plzeňské sympozia

Ivana Taranenková

The Common People as “the Other”

pp. 215–222 (Czech), Summary 222 (English)

In artistic literal concepts and representations of cultures of the national revival, the masses – or common people – are viewed as the keepers of the national component, which is to developed and grow to its full potential in the course of the national revival. The movers of this process, however, were not the common people but the elites of the nation, the nationalists. In spite of the positive view of common people and folk culture, the national revival line of thinking concurrently has a moment of a certain detachment, which discretely makes itself present in the context of Slovak literature in the 19th century. In the essay, I focus on key moments of contemporary literary representations of the common people and will point to those, where they are represented as “the other” – a condemned and, in fact, unknown entity, which does not understand the dilemma of the national intellectual and his efforts towards enlightenment. In contemporary literary texts, this condition is depicted using idyllic, ironic, exotic etc. configurations.

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