Transformations of Prose Structure in the ’56 Generation

  • Ludwig Richter
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)


When, at the end of the 1980s, one looks at the development of Slovak prose fiction since 1954, one can say, without exaggeration, that the ’56 Generation have made a decisive contribution to the formation of prose. This contribution has been reflected not only at the level of ‘programmes’ but also in the Generation’s own literary production. That is quite apart from historically ineluctable changes in the understanding of the general function of literature and of the particular artistic structure of prose. The influence of the ’56 Generation did not always come about in accordance with declared aesthetic postulations, but rather within a dialectic of reaction and counter-reaction to accepted national literary tradition and conventions and to the demands of contemporary currents in world literature. However different the individual manners of writing, the individual poetics, of the writers Vincent šikula, Peter Jaroš, Ján Johanides, Ján Lenčo, Rudolf Sloboda, Anton Hykisch and Jozef Kot might be, together the representatives of the ’56 Generation, have played an essential role in the modernising revival of Slovak prose and thus also in establishing prose as the prime genre in Slovak literature since the 1970s. With hindsight many literary critical judgements on the beginnings of these writers can no longer be upheld, judgements which declared that the joyously experimenting writers of the 1960s, with the odd rare exception, had abandoned the tradition of Slovak literature. Any consistent literary historical treatment of the whole development, not merely small segments, of Slovak fiction since the 1950s, must lead to a re-evaluation, without any ex-post smoothing out of inconsistencies of development.


National Literature Literary Canon Prose Writer Literary Landscape East European Study 
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© School of Slavonic and East European Studies 1990

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  • Ludwig Richter

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