Evolutionary Paths of Czech Prosaic Verbal Folkloristics from the Formation as a Scientific Discipline until the year 2000
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Two stages can be defined in the development of Czech prosaic folkloristics: the pre-scientific (it created the material basis of the discipline) and the scientific one (formation of the discipline, bounds to the social environment of European Romanticism, formation of theory and methodology). The study follows the discipline’s development and the principal representatives of the scientific stage until the turn of the millennium. In the second half of the 19th century, the revision of the Romantic conception caused the Czech folklore to have been integrated in the world context. The works by Jiří Polívka and Václav Tille were of essential importance – they showed wide knowledge of material, systematic nature, and broad cultural interpretation. Jiří Horák elaborated a comparative approach and laid the foundations of discipline’s theory. Frank Wollman interconnected folklore with the development of Slavic literatures. Piotr Bogatyriov’s works brought structuralism and functional conceptions into the discipline. After 1945, folkloristics as a scientific discipline spread to the Czech university environment and in 1954 the Institute of Ethnography and Folkloristics was founded. After the arrival of Communism the discipline and its task were required to correspond to the then ideology (coalminers’ and outlaws’ folklore). Field research developed, and general properties of legends and folk ballads, function of folklore in regions, inter-ethnic aspects, types of fairy-tales disappearing, and development of artificial fairy-tales were studied. Attention was paid to memorates, contemporary folklore and folklorism. Works by Jaromír Jech, Oldřich Sirovátka, Antonín Satek, etc. were of significant importance. Czech oral folkloristics is a permanently developing discipline.
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