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
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.
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