„Orlové literární revoluce.“ F. X. Šalda a/versus Arnošt Procházka (a Moderní revue)
‘The Eagles of Literary Revolution’: F. X. Šalda and / versus Arnošt Procházka (and Moderní Revue)
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The development of a professional network, as well as long-standing disputes, among the most prominent representatives of Czech modernism at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries — F. X. Šalda on the one hand, and Arnošt Procházka and the Moderní revue (especially Jiří Karásek) on the other — can be traced through several stages. First, 1893–1895, a period of mutual curiosity and emerging factions, from the earliest meeting up to the formal manifestation of Česká moderna, which was preceded by the establishment of the Moderní revue as first independent literary platform of the 1890s. Second, 1895–1900, a period in which various trends converged in the connection of art to life and society, and in a confrontation with other emerging, alternative concepts of modernism, namely Synthetism. Third, 1900–1910, a period that looks back, from the strata of generational polemics, culminating in the controversy surrounding Šalda’s pseudonyms, to the accusation of Karásek in what has come to be known as the anonymous letters affair. Fourth, 1910–1925, when each side declared hostility towards, or simply ignored, the other’s role in Czech modernism, from the conclusion of the anonymous letters affair to Procházka’s death. This study focuses in particular on the two initial periods, on the roots of the polemic, and on key moments in the 1890s: that is, on the onset and gradual differentiation of modernist literary creation and criticism in all its forms, on the transformations and extremes of the polemic as the example of a genre whose essence is dialogue and misunderstanding in equal parts. While the polemic is often rife with personal attacks, it also tends to crystallize in a mirror that reveals the collisions and transformations of Czech modern aesthetic thinking, and that illuminates connections and transitions in the field of literary and cultural production.
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