6th August 2021

The Mother Tongue Was Their Homeland


The Literary Museum of the SNL has arranged a series of events for this summer focusing on the lives and works of influential figures of Slovak literature and diplomacy – Karol Strmeň, Rudolf Dilong, Jaroslava Blažková, and Štefan Osuský – who never gave up writing in their mother tongue even though they had had to leave their country for political reasons back in 1945, 1948 and 1968.

2021 marks the centennial of the birth of the well-known translator, writer, representative of the younger generation of Slovak Catholic Modernism and prominent personality of the Slovak post-war exile Karol Strmeň (1921 – 1994), who was acknowledged as “a poet who could transform tears into pearls” by his close friend Mikuláš Šprinc. On 22th July, the SNL held the event to commemorate this anniversary, which consisted of a mixture of presentations and poetry recitals set to music.

Widely regarded as Slovakia’s foremost exile writer, Rudolf Dilong (1905 – 1986) was another representative of Slovak Catholic Modernism who stayed connected with his homeland only through his poetry. Now, 35 years after his death, the Literary Museum of the SNL is celebrating his immense contribution to Slovak literature with a cultural programme dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of the work of the poet called by various epithets such as “a secret monk”, “a poet bitten by freedom”, “the prince of poetry”, and others. The event will take place on 12th August on the premises of the Literary Museum.

A unique cultural programme, which will be held on 26th August, will be dedicated to Jaroslava Blažková (1933 – 2017), a significant Slovak novelist and short story writer, who was also a key member of the so-called Generation 56 group of young authors. She published several innovative short stories in Mladá tvorba, Kultúrny život and other journals, written in a colloquial style with ironic overtones. In her literary works, she paid great attention to the reflection on the relationships between adolescents and parents, as well as the emotional relationships between men and women. Her successful novella Nylonový mesiac (Nylon Moon, 1961) is a good example. In addition to a range of issues related to interpersonal relationships, participants of the discussion will talk about a series of unfortunate mishaps that Blažková experienced after she immigrated to Canada in 1968.

On 9th September, the lecture will provide the audience with a unique insight into Štefan Osuský’s successes in the fields of the national liberation fight, politics, international law, and diplomacy, including the greatest one: by signing the Treaty of Trianon (1920), which confirmed the formation of Czechoslovakia, Osuský – on behalf of the entire nation – symbolically made a full stop after the Hungarian past.

For more information on the above events, visit the Slovak National Library website.

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