National Antiheroes: Symbolism and Narrative Voice as Coded National Identity in Ol’ga Feldeková’s Veverica
One of the distinctive elements of Slovak literature is its coded exploration of national identity and national history. Perhaps paradoxically, this characteristic appeared only after the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. In the nineteenth century, Realist novelists did not question who they were since Slovaks were quite aware that they were the Upper Hungarian Slavs. Later, however, when they were together with the Czech nation the question of Slovak identity became important — and not only because, for a time, the Czechs insisted that the Czechs and Slovaks were one nation; that was the battle over ‘Czechoslovakism’. Perhaps the Slovaks themselves became fascinated with the question of how they had ‘survived’ for a thousand years ‘under the Magyars’ without the support-systems most other nations had: without their own political infrastructure, without a distinct cultural centre or even a geographical area which was purely their own, and especially without any separate codified literary language until the 1840s. Beside the question of how, there arose the question of what had survived.1
KeywordsNational Identity Narrative Technique Narrative Voice Magic Realism Realist Novelist
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