The politics of interpretation in Milan Blahynka’s Pozemská poezie Cover Image
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Politika interpretace v Pozemské poezii Milana Blahynky
The politics of interpretation in Milan Blahynka’s Pozemská poezie

Author(s): Petr Andreas
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Ústav pro českou literaturu Akademie věd České republiky
Keywords: politics of interpretation; normalization; literary criticism; self‑censorship; censorship; Blahynka Milan

Summary/Abstract: The literary criticism programme Pozemská poezie (1977) is one of the most systematic and representative attempts at the time to construct and legitimize the genealogy of “Socialist poetry”. Its author Milan Blahynka advocated the canon of the official line of Czech poetry preferred by the regime, and its publication marked the peak of his political engagement as a literary critic. However, Pozemská poezie is not an authentic expression of the author’s ideas and critical views. This study focuses on the interests which structured Pozemská poezie, i.e .: 1) the verifiable aspects of the author’s intentions and the conception behind the book; 2) censorship and self ‑censorship in the manuscript during review; and 3) primarily verifiable politically motivated self‑censorship tactics in the author’s writing and interpretation. In Pozemská poezie we can clearly identify two stages in the alterations, namely: 1) Self ‑censorship in articles which the critic wrote in the first half of the 1970s, in which he curtailed his criticism of earlier dogmatists who identified with normalization culture; 2) politically motivated alternations made by the critic in line with the instructions of reviewers and editors at Československý spisovatel in texts written before 1968: this includes the omission of several studies of unsuitable authors and the removal of the names of several others (and their replacement by cryptonyms). These structural alterations in the manuscript (e.g. name deletions, use of cryptonyms, excision of negative assessments) to a certain extent distorted the original aims: Pozemská poezie was meant to be somewhat more “liberal”. The extent of this distortion remains unclear, however, as we have only partial knowledge of the author’s overall conception of the book and the intentions involved.

  • Issue Year: 61/2013
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 351-368
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: Czech