Marcela Mikulová

Two Concepts of the Common People and Folklore (Vajanský vs. Tajovský)

pp. 223–230 (Czech), Summary 230 (English)

Vajanský and Tajovský represented two opposing types of semiotics in Slovak literature. Vajanský, who idealized reality, concealing it in the process. Vajanský had an inclination to a represent the common people in their Sunday best and the exhibit of hats and needlework in St. Martin in 1887 fulfilled his ideal. According to Vajanský, Tajovský’s untainted image of the Slovak village was degrading to the people. Tajovský, who was younger by a generation was a member of the pre-symbolic generation who drew on the paradigms of national mythology but also demystified false clichés on the national character.  In Tajovský’s interpretation, the villager is devastated by poverty and alcohol, has no self-respect, is detached from tradition and is falling morally. Tajovský found support for his polemic with the idealized image of reality during his studies in Prague, where he was encouraged by the period’s naturalism and relativisim that cast doubt traditional signs of representation.

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