By Peter Petro
A survey of the background of Slovak literature from the center a while to the current. The medieval, Renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, realist and sleek classes are highlighted as are contributions of writers like Hronsky, Kollar, Papanek, Rufus, Safarik, Transovshy, Tatarka and Zaborsky.
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Extra resources for A History of Slovak Literature
Slovak Protestants used the biblical Czech, biblictina (from the Kralice Bible, 1594), as their church language, and so codifying its grammar must have seemed a logical step. After all, there was a need that had to be addressed: the Slovakizing tendency of ordinary parishioners, for whom Czech was a foreign language despite its resemblance to Slovak. Nevertheless, Nedozersky is not trying to turn Slovaks into Czechs at all. His point is different: It seems to me that I have to say a word to my Slovak compatriots, who are so careless in the cultivation of their language - so much so that some of them (and I speak from experience) are boasting not only that they do not read any Czech books, but that they do not have a single one in their libraries.
Another urgent task was to spread the news. Heretofore, literary, historical, and linguistic issues were the concern of a few savants and enthusiasts; in the age of mass mobilization introduced by the French Revolution, this was not good enough. And so this unexpected, sudden, and vigorous movement on the historical stage had a direct mobilizing influence on Slovak literature. It is not an exaggeration to say that but for the work of the men of literature, the existence of the Slovak nation and state would be an impossibility.
While the central facts remain the same, Pilarik uses them as an opportunity to meditate upon the role of Divine intervention in the affairs of men. The persecution of the Protestants was also the topic of Joachim Kalinka's (1601-78) Diarium (Diary, 1671-72), in which he describes his incarceration in Pressburg (Bratislava) in 1671-72. Kalinka's work, like Pilarik's, shows evidence of a considerable effort to give a literary shape to an otherwise straightforward document. Jan Simonides 35 Baroque (1636-1780) (1648-1708), similarly persecuted, produced a very interesting and voluminous text in Latin, Incarceratio, liberatio et peregrinatio (Imprisonment, liberation, and pilgrimage, 1676), which provides an excellent memoir (and travelogue) of the Slovak Baroque.