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Romány Antonína Zápotockého v dobovém kontextu historické prózy
Vol. 32, No. 2 (1984), pp. 124-137
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43745101
Page Count: 14
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Few literary works left so outstanding traces in the development of Czech prose after World War Two as Antonín Zápotocký's novels Vstanou noví bojovníci (1948), Bouřlivý rok 1905 (1949) and Rudá záře nad Kladnem (1951). They are — in substance — historical novels: in them conflicts have the form of historical events, which show the fundamental social antagonisms, individual character is always linked up with historical type and the development of society is depicted from the class stand-point of the proletariate. The purpose of the article is to define the genetic importance of Zápotocky's novels in the context of the Czech historical prose of the 40s and 50s, i. e. to show what possibilities Zápotocký's work offered to that sphere of literature, and — the other way round — what it made impossible, in which way it presented itself as an element of literary discontinuity. Czech historical fiction was influenced especially by two characteristic features of Zápotocký's novels: binding the plot up with concrete historical events and grounding the narration with decumentary material. In the 40s the dominant type of historical novel was the „projective“ one: in many works the plot was not dependent on the specific social conditions of the concrete historical period; it was — on the contrary — the expression of author's intelectual searching for the possibilities of the realization of humanistic and democratic ideas in the society after the World War Two. Such attitude to history survived in the post-war novels with the subject-matter of national fight for liberty (F. Kubka, Palečkův úsměv a pláč; P. Naumann, Faon; V. Vaněk, Země krvácí, země kvete) and „building the new life“ (O. Audy, Údolí se zvedla; J. Hronek, Údolí fasu). Zápotocký's method of the concrete historical determination of the plot enabled Czech historical novel to show a man not as an „anthropological constant“ but as the historical being whose activity is determined by the specific historical conditions. The documentary basis of Zápotocký's novels consists in showing the truth of history by means of authentic details, characters and events. Documentary method of Zápotocký was also directed against prevailing attempts of the 40s: it gave the lie to the works following the bad tradition of the conventional plot elements in family sagas and psychological novels (H. Dvořáková, Pad rodiny Bryknarū). Stressing documentary features in the historical fiction of the 50s led in some cases to the simple illustration of historical events (M. V. Kratochvíl, Mistr Jan; F. Kubka, Dědeček; K. J. Beneš, Mezi dvěma břehy). However, in the best novels of the period the authors found — in the same way as Antonín Zápotocký — such specific attitude to the theme that enabled them to join their subjects in creative process not only as the popularizators of historical information but as the seekers of facts and their historical sense (V. Kapličký, Čtveráci, Železná koruna; A. Branaíd, Chléb a písně; M. V. Kratochvíl, Podivuhodné příběhy a dobrodruïství Jana Kornela; V. Káňa, Válkou narušení; A. Šmejcová, Lidé z Terebovky).
Česká literatura © 1984 Ceská literatura