Atmosphere of societal anxiety and representations of the body: The image of man in surrealist works of Vítězslav Nezval in the 20th century interwar period in Bohemia

  • Anna Maria Brzezińska Institute of Slavic Studies, University of Wrocław, ul. Pocztowa 9, 53-313 Wrocław, Poland
Keywords: czech surrealism, Vítězslav Nezval, social anxiety, Absolute Gravedigger, Woman in Plural, metamorphosis,

Abstract

Aim: The interwar period in Czechoslovakia was a time of societal anxiety. The aim of this paper is to find the central themes of societal fear, as reflected in the surrealist works of Vítězslav Nezval, a czech poet. The analysis will be based primarily on the lyric poetry from the collections: Žena v množném čísle [Woman in Plural] (1936) and Absolutní hrobař [Absolute Gravedigger] (1937).

Methods: The analysis is based on the Josef Vojdovík’s anthropo-phenomenological method of exploring the surrealist perceptions of the body, which is based on vertical and horizontal anthropological dimensions and phenomenological conceptions of fears.

Results: Surrealist poetry and other literary works contain images of the body that are changed by fear: deformations, metamorphoses, fragmentarisations, hybridisations, expressing the body as a collage, a mosaic, an amalgam, a phantom, a grotesque, an inlay, and as lifelessness. It undergoes multiple metamorphoses, not only within its own form, but also with regard to the categories of life and lifelessness.

Conclusions: The analysis leads to the conclusion, that V. Nezval’s works show a clear tendency to portray the body as an object which undergoes a metamorphosis. The body is balanced on the edge between living and dead, organic and inorganic, it is determined by time and space. It is often shown along the narrowing-widening relation, in stupor, petrification, reduced to a flat surface or miniaturised.

Author Biography

Anna Maria Brzezińska, Institute of Slavic Studies, University of Wrocław, ul. Pocztowa 9, 53-313 Wrocław, Poland

Anna Brzezińska is a PhD student at the University of Wrocław on Faculty of Philology, specializing in czech and literature studies. Received a bachelor degree (pedagogics 2014, czech studies 2016) and master degree (pedagogics 2014, czech studies 2016) at the University of Wrocław. Spent two semesters in Prague and one in Olomouc on foreign scholarships.

She is interested in  czech avantgarde literature in interwar period (especially surrealistic works), avantgarde typography and graphic design.

References

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Published
2018-06-27
How to Cite
Brzezińska, A. (2018). Atmosphere of societal anxiety and representations of the body: The image of man in surrealist works of Vítězslav Nezval in the 20th century interwar period in Bohemia. Journal of Education Culture and Society, 9(1), 181-189. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.15503/jecs20181.181.189
Section
LOCAL CULTURES AND SOCIETIES