Postmodernism in Slovak Prose

Postmodernism in Slovak Prose




Postmodernism, metafiction, narrator, Slovak literature, existential prose, palimpsest prose


In the genre of realistic novels, fiction is confined within the boundaries of the real world, yet the author or narrator presents it as reality, as if nothing were fabricated and the entire plot were simply transposed from reality into text. Contemporary authors disclose the processes of their creation, differentiating between what is fabrication, what is fiction, and what is directly incorporated from reality into the text. In postmodern prose, the methods of realism and modernism are interwoven, both integral to the artistic text. In Slovak literature, this phenomenon appears most notably in the works of Pavel Vilikovský and is even more pronounced in the works of Czech-French author Milan Kundera. Often, authors insert themselves into the narrative, particularly in the roles of commentator or by including mini-stories from their own lives into the plot. This is executed through various forms of metafiction. Metafictional techniques, while a hallmark of the postmodern text, are not new; similar elements have appeared in literature in previous centuries but never as extensively as they do now. By the end of the 1990s and into the first decade of the 21st century, Slovak literature witnessed the rise of authors with distinct postmodern prose features, such as Peter Pišťanek, Pavel Vilikovský, Lajos Grendel, Anton Baláž, Viliam Klimáiek, Daniela Kapitáňová, Michal Hvorecký, Pavol Rankov, and others. Metafiction is undoubtedly a defining characteristic of the postmodern text, primarily due to the increased prevalence of these elements compared to the past.

Author Biography

Tibor Žilka, Constantine the Philospher University in Nitra, Slovakia

(Born  1939)  served  at the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra  until August 31, 2020. He is one of the founders of the Cabinet of Literary Communication at the Faculty of Education in Nitra (1969). From 1993 to 2009, he lectured at Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Hungary, where he was also the head of the Institute of Slavistics and Central Europe, as well as the head of the Department of Slovak Studies. He is a recognized expert in semiotics, poetics, narratology, and stylistics. He has published over 10 monographs, with his most successful publication being “Poetický slovník” [Poetic Dictionary] (1984, 1987). In 1974, his book “Stilisztika és statisztika” [Stylistics and Statistics] was published by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. His most successful monographs include “Text and Posttext” (1995, 2011), “Postmodern Semiotics of Text” (2000), “Vademecum of Poetics” (2006, 2011), “(Post)modern Literature and Film” (2006), “The Adventure of Theory of Creation” (2015), “From Intertextuality to Intermediality” (2015). In 2019, his book “Poétikai kisszótár” [Small Poetic Dictionary] was published in Hungary by the prestigious publishing house Tinta. In addition to monographs, he is also the editor and co-author of several anthologies at home and abroad. He is also a co-author of the “Theory of Literature for High Schools and Secondary Schools,” the concept of which he developed and proposed. For his long-term work, he has received several awards: the significant Pavel Strauss Prize for a lasting contribution to culture and art (2016); the Order of the Hungarian Knight’s Cross for Merit was awarded to him by the President of the Hungarian Republic, János Áder (2017); on the occasion of the 770th anniversary of granting city privileges, he was awarded the Prize of the City of Nitra for exceptional achievements in scientific research and educational activities (2018); the Council of the Conference of Bishops of Slovakia for Science, Education, and Culture awarded him the Fra Angelico Prize (2021). Under his leadership, the monograph “Žilka, T. – Zelenková, A. – Benyovszky, K.: Stereotypes and Myths. Intertextuality in Central European Imagological Reflections” (Berlin: Peter Lang GmbH, 2022) was published.