2008 | 17 | 1 | 5-26
Article title

SERBIAN AND CROATIAN ADAPTATION OF SLOVAK POETRY. ( Srbska a Chorvatska adaptabilita slovenskej poezie)

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The author of the study assumes that some poems can presently be regarded as manifestos of the idea of Slavism. He concentrates on the poem/song by Samuel Tomasik (1813–1887) 'Hej, Slovaci' (Hey, Slovaks) which is known as 'Hej, Slovania' (Hey, Slavia) outside of Slovakia and designated as a Pan-Slavic anthem. It was created in 1834 in Prague where Tomasik felt that Slavic nations are threatened by Germanization. His alarming cry was not only an indication of danger, but also an encouragement to the fight for national survival. The study focuses on the reception of Tomasik‘s song in the Serbian and the Croatian environment, and partially even in Bohemia. Nevertheless, the author also pays attention to translations and adaptations of other mobilizing poems and songs in the Slovak, the Serbian and the Croatian linguistic environment. Although a common Slavic ideological aspect dominated in the poetry of these literatures, each of them manifested peculiarities based on a different socio-political development in the distant past and in the period of formation of national movements, which was characterised by a gradual transition from Kollar's idea of Pan-Slavism to the ideas forming and consolidating the national identity based on Slavism. That is the reason why the readings of Tomasik's song (but also of other poems) in various environments differed to a lesser or greater extant from the original. Already in the 1830s and 1840s, it turned out that the basic ideological dimension (Slovak-Slavic) could not function on the basis of Slovakhood, and that the title and Tomasik's first two verses are untranslatable; they can only be adapted. The poem's / song's Pan-Slavic dimension overlaid its rhetoric, the ideological power enabled the poem to become general, to go through the process of transformation from the domination of the individual (Slovak) to the domination of the general (Slavic). The Slovak language and the Slovak nation in the first and the second verse had to be substituted by other words. The author analyzes the translations and adaptations in detail; he pays attention to the translations of the significant first two verses, which form a reliable basis for the assessment of the extent of the shift from the original. The author explores these processes against the wider historical background and concludes that the adaptations / translations begun to flourish primarily in the environments with a smaller population and of the mostly threatened nations, while neither geographical peculiarities nor population size were a decisive factor. The ideological, defensive and mobilizing aspects of Tomasik's original were accepted by members of all the threatened nations. The translations to the languages of the dominant and highly populated nations did not originate on the basis of the fight for liberty and for the preservation of national identity, but were motivated by the ideas of Slavism, or by the interest in Slavism as well as by the fact that the song has also a wider humanistic dimension.
  • Jan Jankovic, Ustav svetovej literatury SAV, Konventna 13, 81364 Bratislava, Slovak Republic,
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