The DFG Center for Advanced Studies “Russian-Language Poetry in Transition” (FOR 2603) cordially invites you to a lecture with Josef Hrdlička streamed live via Zoom. Please register by e-mail with Anna Fees (email@example.com) no later than November 16th, 2021, to receive the stream’s access data.
Abstract: Old age has multiple meanings in and for poetry. Two of these seem to be formed in opposition to newness (poetry) and youth (age), regardless of the positive or negative connotations therein. In both of these senses, I will examine old age in Czech poetry after 1989. This date marks a peculiar historical conjuncture to which various analogies can be found but which are always only approximate. After 1948, and repeatedly after 1968, there were rather strict bans on certain authors. Some of them stopped writing; others wrote privately and did not publish, went into exile, or were published in samizdat. After 1989, when the political situation changed, many of these poets engaged an entirely different context with their work, and many of them reflected on this situation in interesting ways. Most were formerly well-known authors but also already in their old age. For some of them, this break and return to literature after a hiatus is not apparent, but, for others, it is significant, and their work from this period clearly diverges from their earlier poetry. Using selected authors (Bohumila Grögerová, Ivan Diviš, Jiřina Hauková, and others), I will try to examine this issue both as a poetic theme and a defining structural feature in the form and style of poems from this period.
Josef Hrdlička is an associate professor at Charles University in Prague. He teaches comparative literature and lyric theory. He is also the editor of the scholarly journal Svět literatury / World of Literature and has published three books of poetry.