Idyll and the Limitations of Realism Cover Image

Idyla a limity realizmu
Idyll and the Limitations of Realism

Genre as a Mental Medium

Author(s): Marcela Mikulová
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature, Slovak Literature, Theory of Literature
Published by: Ústav slovenskej literatúry SAV
Keywords: Idealism, idyll; eclogue; Realism; Martin Kukučín; fragments;

Summary/Abstract: The idealistic and idyllic perception of reality in Slovak literature of the second half of the 19th century was seen as a legitimate part of the production of the old generation writers. The falsified image of reality was challenged by the production of the younger authors (Timrava, Tajovský, Jesenský). It their case it was enough to describe undestorted reality to seem polemic, i.e. anti-idyllic in contrast to the old generation of the writers. However, there was a writer who found himself split between the desire for a harmonious world and critical perception of reality – Martin Kukučín. Encouraged by the discussions in the Prague society Detvan he managed to benefit from the stimuli of European literature finding the basis for his philosophical reflections in the fundamental premises – the question of life and death, conscience, egoism, tradition, spiritual harmony and money. On the island of Brač in 1896 he began to write a long work of fiction inspired by observations of a local patrician family (the fragments were titled by the Complete Works editors Rodina/Family and Zádruha/Community) with the intention to describe a family idyll, harmony and togetherness. He was very disappointed to discover that the only thing that kept the aging childless siblings together was the wealth, which in line with the family tradition of not dividing the property had no actual heir. Kukučín was disgusted by the realistic depiction of the archaic traditions so much that the text, which he failed to write in an appropriate artistic form for that reason, remained in manuscript. Having had this experience as well as been disappointed by the time spent in Slovakia he wrote in 1896 a short story titled Svadba/Wedding. He did it in a vivid and emotional form of eclogue, and he used its lyric nature to a great extent as his emotional prophylaxis. The protagonist´s painful polarity between love for the parents and that for a woman suggests an analogy with the writer´s feelings when he realized he never wanted to come back to his homeland again.

  • Issue Year: 65/2018
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 130 - 142
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Slovak