“On the whole considerably reassured, so down to work again with zeal” Cover Image
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„Celkem značně uklidněn a s chutí do nové práce“
“On the whole considerably reassured, so down to work again with zeal”

Ladislav Štoll during the Prague Spring and the early consolidation

Author(s): Petr Andreas
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature, Czech Literature
Published by: Ústav pro českou literaturu Akademie věd České republiky
Keywords: Štoll Ladislav;Prague Spring;consolidation;normalization;literary critic;Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences;Institute of Czech Literature

Summary/Abstract: The present study reconstructs the fortunes and viewpoints of literary critic, ideologist and politician Ladislav Štoll between 1968 and 1973. My main source was the collection of private papers of the same name housed at the Academy of Sciences Archive. Ladislav Štoll’s position and public role were undermined by the reformist meeting of the Czechoslovak Communist Party Central Committee at the turn of 1967/68 and meetings between a party committee and the Czech Literature Institute Council. In the Prague Spring period leading up to August 1968, Štoll withdrew from the public arena and stepped down from his executive positions at the Academy of Sciences. He faced criticisms and media attacks for his Stalinist past and his role as the one who announced the repressive measures against pro-reform authors at writers‘ conventions, including e.g. the (unproven) accusation that he took part in the political trials. He kept his Soviet friends and literary historian colleagues informed about the unsatisfactory situation in Czechoslovakia, and welcomed the occupation on 21st August as the moment the historical trajectory of Czechoslovakia veered away from counter-revolution, while prioritizing solutions that would not jeopardize state and national sovereignty. From autumn 1968 until mid-1969 he remained in seclusion, focused on research activity and travelled abroad. From autumn 1969 until summer 1970 he championed the consolidation of the humanities and social sciences as an employee of the revived Czechoslovak-Soviet Institute, consulting Soviet academics regarding the consolidation of Czechoslovak Russian studies, requesting their advisory intervention and arranging for the publication of key normative documents. He worked in the Czechoslovak Communist Party Central Committee and its Ideological Commission on party analyses of the post-1956 cultural and political developments that led to the Prague Spring. He reassessed his views on these developments and began to see them as disastrous from the outset, and his previous dialogue with the reformists to have been too generous. He welcomed the results of the consolidation process and its codification in Lessons from the Crisis. In July 1970 he became Chairman of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences Arts and Sciences Committee and indirectly managed the reorganization of the Institute of Czech Literature. In February 1972 he returned to the consolidated Institute of Czech and World Literature as its Director, while becoming Editor-in-Chief of the Česká literatura journal. He also took on a number of other positions and tasks in various supervisory and academic bodies and committees. It was both because of these duties and for health reasons that he again drifted away from work at the Institute.

  • Issue Year: 65/2017
  • Issue No: 6
  • Page Range: 846-876
  • Page Count: 31
  • Language: Czech