TRANSFORMACE BALADICKÉHO ŽÁNRU V BÁSNICKÉ TVORBĚ JANA NERUDY
Transformation of the ballad as a genre in Jan Neruda´s poetry
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The goal of the article is to examine the transformation of the ballad as a genre in Jan Neruda´s poetry, especially in his mature collection of poems called Balady a romance (Ballads and romances) - year 1883. The study builds on the existing, quite extensive scientific literature dealing with the making of the book, the models and the sources of inspiration for individual poems and Neruda´s distinction between the ballad and the romance, and then first critical feedback on the collection. The ballad was one of the favourite genres of the May School members, who filled it with new, especially social-critical contents. This is the way young Jan Neruda went, too, nevertheless, in his mature production, he seems to have come back to the traditional form of the genre. In fact, it was only a partial comeback as despite all the admiration for his powerful poetry, he transformed it so as to able to express a modern man´s experience. First of all, he extended the scope of the genre by overlapping it with the legend, the genre in the atmosphere of which he had spent his childhood. His stories of saints´ lives are of humorously mocking nature (in this respect he cannot conceal his inclination for Heinesque provocations) however, they are also just as serious. This particularly applies to the subjects related to Jesus, who became the central character of the collection. He appears there in many forms: as a baby in a crib, as a political revolutionary, as a crucified son of God and as a kind humanist as based on the modern concept of Renan´s. The list of the forms makes it clear that the ballad was considerably politicized by Neruda. Besides the biblical subjects he used for that purpose the motifs related to national history as well as the contemporary political events. While the political aspect in the romances is very often obvious (including explicit revolutionary appeals), the ballads call for deeper contemplation about the social processes and the fate of the nation. Despite the fact that there is available evidence Neruda was inspired by folklore, his ballads and romances are only seemingly simple; the presented folksiness is the result of sophisticated artistic pretence. The writer did not abandon the old forms, he filled them with modern contents expressing how complicated the contemporary world is.
312 – 323
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