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Re: CHAT: Czech please or Czech Please

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  • Melvyn
    ... His outspoken humour can be quite amusing for about ten minutes, Zuzka. I studied with him for three years. ... Well, I enjoy camp gothic melodrama as much
    Message 1 of 18 , Jul 29 1:30 AM
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      >Wow, you studied with Pynsent, Melvyn.

      His outspoken humour can be quite amusing for about ten minutes, Zuzka. I studied with him for three years.

      > And Inultus made you laugh- poor Zeyer.

      Well, I enjoy camp gothic melodrama as much as anybody, but after a point you have to laugh or cry. :_O

      >My thesis was on poetika Obnovenych obrazu. I basically concluded 1) he treated his topics in a way that resembles oral tradition and 2) why not use his works as an introduction to (even) old(er) literature in school? (I was at the Faculty of Education :-))

      This is interesting stuff. Which works of his did you have in mind? So much is available online these days. Is Plojhar worth the effort?

      >I don't really care about his being gay or otherwise, even
      though I'm pretty sure he experienced a great deal of frustration.

      The fin de siecle was a period of social, religious and psychological ferment and frustration for so many writers at so many levels IMO. Spirituality, sexuality and ethnic and cultural identity often seem to somehow reflect one another. My impression is that Zeyer had eclectic tastes and experimented in using one sphere to mirror and express another. Bit of an all-rounder, to use a cricketing expression.

      Recently I read The Cambridge Guide to the Fin de Siecle. Interesting to compare the Czech "decadents" with their British and Irish counterparts. Some interesting-looking feminist works written at the time too: "between 1883 and 1900 over 100 novels were written about the New Woman, and a large proportion of these came into print in the first half of the 1890s...a whole flood of novels and short stories by
      (amongst others) Mona Caird, Ella Hepworth Dixon, Edith Arnold, George
      Egerton and `Iota' would reach a popular market."

      >Tereza Novakova is waay off mark as for the Czech Jane Austen, I obviously did
      too much contract translation on Thursday :-) Eliska Krasnohorska (mainly
      Svehlavicka) was the name I was searching for.

      Svehlavicka - hmmm a "girl's novel". Well, I always used to enjoy reading my sister's comics. :-)

      Recently read Nas maly, malicky svet by Jaromira Kolarova, another writer in that genre. Sometimes amusing, sometimes hard-nosed depictions of working class life. Brilliant portrayal of her mother, who did not rate young Jaromira's intelligence very highly. I have a good quote from her for those of you who can face Facebook.
      https://www.facebook.com/zehrovak/posts/10152761324920626

      > As for Rettigova, the cookbook is
      the best, but if you want a laugh, go for it!

      Somebody clue me in here. :-) What might I possibly cope with from Mrs Rettigova's cervena knihovna?

      >You have the most awesome to-do list! Kate Bush - another one of my favourites..

      Okaaay. Must brush up my Kate Bush impersonations. =:-O

      BR

      Melvyn
    • Zuzana Benesova
      Hi Melvyn, sorry it took me so long to get back to you. These past two weeks were a blur. ... I completely see your point. I m pretty sure I would not have the
      Message 2 of 18 , Aug 9, 2013
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        Hi Melvyn, sorry it took me so long to get back to you. These past two weeks were a blur.

        >> And Inultus made you laugh- poor Zeyer.
        >
        > Well, I enjoy camp gothic melodrama as much as anybody, but after a point you have to laugh or cry. :_O
        I completely see your point. I'm pretty sure I would not have the patience to read all (!) of his works today and even wonder how I ever managed to :-)
        >
        >> My thesis was on poetika Obnovenych obrazu. I basically concluded 1) he treated his topics in a way that resembles oral tradition and 2) why not use his works as an introduction to (even) old(er) literature in school? (I was at the Faculty of Education :-))
        >
        > This is interesting stuff. Which works of his did you have in mind?
        He published three volumes of "Obnovene obrazy" but the topic is wider. For my thesis, I settled for "anything inspired by a culture distant in time and location and lacking obvious autobiographic elements". Including Inultus.

        > So much is available online these days. Is Plojhar worth the effort?
        Plojhar's worth a try, if anything. What I really enjoyed however was trying to understand his method/approach when re-telling old legends, tales, even a saga. The melodrama is a big part of it.
        >
        >> I don't really care about his being gay or otherwise, even
        > though I'm pretty sure he experienced a great deal of frustration.
        >
        > The fin de siecle was a period of social, religious and psychological ferment and frustration for so many writers at so many levels IMO. Spirituality, sexuality and ethnic and cultural identity often seem to somehow reflect one another. My impression is that Zeyer had eclectic tastes and experimented in using one sphere to mirror and express another. Bit of an all-rounder, to use a cricketing expression.
        Yes, very eclectic indeed :-) And yes, writing was his way of coping with life (i.e. therapy) and he struggled to live in a way that would allow him to write. And wrote because he could not live a life he would have (so vaguely) desired. If he could, he'd have to find something else to desire in vain. Obsessed with traveling to distant places to the point of begging for money. Nearly :-) Absolutely could not separate himself from the fiction or step away I believe. He definitely wanted to be somewhere else, live in a different time, wanted to be situated differently - and yes, even desired a different religion maybe. Oh, and his relationships were never satisfactory, either. Hard to tell which mirrors which in his works. I sort of suspect Freud would have a lot to say about his mother, to start with :-)
        >
        > Recently I read The Cambridge Guide to the Fin de Siecle. Interesting to compare the Czech "decadents" with their British and Irish counterparts. Some interesting-looking feminist works written at the time too: "between 1883 and 1900 over 100 novels were written about the New Woman, and a large proportion of these came into print in the first half of the 1890s...a whole flood of novels and short stories by
        > (amongst others) Mona Caird, Ella Hepworth Dixon, Edith Arnold, George
        > Egerton and `Iota' would reach a popular market."
        Interesting. Going on my own to-do list. What would you recommend for a starter?
        >
        >> As for Rettigova, the cookbook is
        > the best, but if you want a laugh, go for it!
        >
        > Somebody clue me in here. :-) What might I possibly cope with from Mrs Rettigova's cervena knihovna?
        No idea, I could not cope with her - but might give it a try again to see if my perspective has changed :-) Maybe I'll contribute a quote to your FB page then.

        Have a great weekend!
        Zuzka
        >
        >
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      • Melvyn
        ... Hello Zuzka, Me, I ve been on my hols in the Giant Mountains. Passed through your neck of the woods. Very nice area. ... Okay. Melodrama plus folk
        Message 3 of 18 , Aug 14, 2013
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          --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, Zuzana Benesova <czechlist@...> wrote:
          > These past two weeks were a blur.

          Hello Zuzka,

          Me, I've been on my hols in the Giant Mountains. Passed through your neck of the woods. Very nice area.

          >The melodrama is a big part of it.

          Okay. Melodrama plus folk narrative. Reminds me of Erben.

          >Obsessed with
          traveling to distant places to the point of begging for money. Nearly :-)

          A nineteenth century Kerouac? Check out George Borrow. The Romany Rye. He was restless and travelled to exotic places with the Romani, learning their language among many others. Still popular when I was young but now strangely neglected.


          >>short stories by
          > (amongst others) Mona Caird, Ella Hepworth Dixon, Edith Arnold, George
          > Egerton and `Iota' would reach a popular market."

          >Interesting. Going on my own to-do list. What would you recommend for a starter?

          My guess is that they all have something to offer. I enjoy just reading down the contents pages and imagining the stories. :-) This is a problem of mine. I am not a fast reader because I am a dreadful day-dreamer. I often just read a couple of pages and then spend all my time imagining how the story will continue.

          Actually, Michal Ajvaz once wrote a short story that just consisted of a contents page for an imaginary novel with chapter titles that suggested strange and gripping twists and turns. Best novel I have never read.

          Anyway, having dipped into several of them, I hesitate to tell you my favourite :-) as my tastes are probably a bit off the beaten track. For example, I got into an early 19th century science fiction work by Jane Loudon (nee Webb) entitled The Mummy, set in the 22nd century, which will not be everybody's cup of tea. Similarities with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and her post-apocalyptical The Last Man (which I also enjoyed).

          "The ladies were all arrayed in loose trowsers, over which hung
          drapery in graceful folds; and most of them carried on their heads,
          streams of lighted gas forced by capillary tubes, into plumes, fleurs de-lis, or in short any form the wearer pleased; which jets de feu had an uncommonly chaste and elegant effect."

          Mail is delivered by cannon balls, which are shot into large nets erected in each village. Your original net-based hotmail - probably more reliable too.

          When an agricultural and horticultural expert read her futuristic description of a steam lawn mower and a mechanical milking machine he tracked her down and proposed to her. Name of Loudon. So she ended up writing gardening books.

          Mona Caird writes with verve and vigour. I got into her Romance of the Moors and am very much enjoying it. None of those silly bonnet fixations or shadowy servants without first names:

          "A maid-servant going up the street with a
          parcel from the grocer's, glanced admiringly
          at the stalwart young farmer. The Doctor
          caught the glance and smiled, though not
          without a faint pang of envy far away down
          in his soul. The young fellow was aggres-
          sively handsome, while Dr. Hislop was fair,
          irregular of feature and put together in-
          accurately."

          Top-notch writing. Makes me wonder just how many non-canon ripping yarns are waiting out there to be discovered.

          A couple of recommended pdfs will be cannonballing their way to you in the not too remote future.

          So okay next on my list is definitely something exotic and Freudian by Julius Zeyer. Kate Bush will just have to wait a little longer.

          Regards,

          Melvyn
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