Český realismus v exilu : o časopise Skutečnost (1948-1953)
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CZECH REALISM IN EXILE. THE PERIODICAL 'SKUTECNOST', 1948-53
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In this article the author discusses 'Skutecnost' (Reality), a remarkable Czechoslovak emigre periodical published after the Communist takeover. The author was one of its founders and editors. 'Skutecnost' was started up in Geneva in late 1948 essentially as a students' monthly. The first number was published in March 1949. Owing to its high quality, openness, non-partisanship, forthrightness, critical approach, and non-conformism, however, 'Skutecnost' soon gained an extraordinary standing amongst emigre periodicals. Its programme and name reflect its affiliation with the realism of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937), in the sense of its perspicacity and critical assessment of reality, advocated an active, uncompromising defence of democracy against totalitarianism, supported the integration of European values, castigated emigre politicking, boldly held up an unflattering mirror to its countrymen, and detested platitudes. Its critical jibes were a thorn in the side of many an emigre; the special issue criticizing the post-war expulsion of the Czechoslovak Germans, for example, caused an uproar. Its editor-in-chief was the Slovak journalist Karol Belak, and its regular contributors included a number of distinctive emigre figures from around the world, for example the literary historians Peter Demetz (b. 1922) and Jiri Pistorius (b. 1922), the journalists Ferdinand Peroutka (1895-1978) and Pavel Tigrid (1917-2003), the writers Jan M. Kolar (1923-1978) and Jiri Karnet (b. 1920), the historians Jiri Kovtun (b. 1927) and Zdenek Dittrich (b. 1923), and the politician Jaroslav Stransky (1884-1973). It increasingly published translations of articles by non-Czechoslovak authors, including emigres from other central and east European countries. Its range of action expanded considerably, when the selection of articles from 'Skutecnost' began to be published in Czech, English, and German versions in 'Democratia militans'. In his discussion the author mentions the conflict that arose after Meda Mladkova (b. 1919), an art historian and collaborator of 'Skutecnost', took over its administrative work and moved the editorial office to London in 1951. He concludes by stating that this initiative of the young generation of emigres contributed to overcoming the sense of disappointment, apparent deadlock, and genuine lack of programme amongst the Czechoslovak emigres.
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