Recently I talked on the phone to Michael Stein from the Czech Position about the Slovak literature, the translation into foreign languages and the Central European experience. Thanks for that! The interview is now online here.
„The Slovak nation is young compared to its Czech neighbor and its literature was underdeveloped. “Slovak literature has made enormous progress in the last 50 years,” Hvorecký said, attributing much of the change to the translation of world literature into the Slovak language.
The 60’s was the first big era of Slovak literature and though still little known in the English-speaking world Hvorecký considers that established Slovak writers like Pavel Vilikovský (also represented in the Dalkey anthology) and Dominik Tatarka stand comparison with major European writers.“
As someone born in 1976 I belong to the generation of Gustáv Husák’s [Communist Party Chief and later President of Czechoslovakia] children, of whom around a million were born within a single decade. It was hard to imagine a greater contrast than that between these baby boomers and the aging leadership. Vasiľ Biľak, one of the Communist hardliners who had invited in the Russian tanks in 1968, was born in 1917, President Husák in 1913. The Soviet Politburo was also extremely elderly and were the butt of jokes about which politician would be the first to die.
My long-term platonic love affair with Austria, Vienna in particular, began when I was still a boy. Every Friday many families in Bratislava would buy the Austrian daily Volksstimme. On this day the Austrian Communist Party’s official mouthpiece included the weekly programme of Austrian TV which was unavailable elsewhere in Czechoslovakia.