Transylvania on a slippery slope

Slovak jingoists can be very vocal when it suits them but for some reason, you don’t hear them protesting against the abolishing of Slovak tuition at universities abroad. As a result of budget cuts at the Slovak Ministry of Education, thirteen universities abroad will be losing their Slovak lectors.

In France, for example, where until recently it was possible to study Slovak language and literature to degree level at three universities, this option will not be available for much longer.

This is another absurd austerity measure, which will result primarily in a further drop in the number of literary and other translations. Their number is negligible as it is, and German translations of Slovak texts are usually done by Bohemists who are offered many more opportunities and support.

Unfortunately, the teaching of the Slovak language at primary and secondary schools in friendly foreign countries does not seem to fare much better either. At the end of April a visiting teacher of Slovak in western Romania invited me to spend some time with the Slovak minority living there.

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Interview in English

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.“