Grandmother by Božena Němcová: from idyll to elegy. Adaptations of classical literature — some aspects Cover Image

Babička Boženy Němcové: od idyly k elegii. K některým aspektům adaptace klasické literatury
Grandmother by Božena Němcová: from idyll to elegy. Adaptations of classical literature — some aspects

Author(s): Petr Málek
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Ústav pro českou literaturu Akademie věd České republiky
Keywords: adaptation; concretization; context; idyll elegy; Němcová Božena

Summary/Abstract: This “case study” primarily shows the way the film adaptation of Babička — Grandmother by Božena Němcová (F. Čáp /1940/ and A. Moskalyk /1971/) handled both the “burden” of the idyll genre with its national connotations, and the sujet‑free, classic nature of the adapted material. Attention is focused particularly on the broadly‑conceived (i.e. cultural, social, political) contexts in which adaptations are set and at the same time by which they are determined and influenced. The analysis comes to the conclusion that Čáp’s adaptation within the context of the jeopardized nation and culture under the occupation adopted the idyllic features of the adapted material, which was conceived as a paradigmatic aesthetic realization of Czech national culture’s self‑image. Film media recreate idyllic fiction, which modelled itself as a harmonious “counter‑world” to the disharmonious, hostile social reality of the Protectorate. An element that makes up Čáp’s “reading” of the idyllic code is the revitalized myth of Czech Revivalist culture, the myth of the simple rural people as the “healthy heart” of the nation, personified by the mythic figure of Grandmother. In contrast, Pavlíček and Moskalyk’s Grandmother problematized this idyll by highlighting and developing the plot around Viktorka, whose tragic love was identified as a dramatically vital counterpoint to Grandmother’s story and a portent of the author’s own troubled love‑life. Pavlíček and Moskalyk’s adaptation, which managed to present Grandmother as an “open work”, is an example of artistic “concretization‑realization”, which creatively releases classical and representative national works from the clutches of conventional and hidebound concrete expression. In its time it also presented a challenge to literary studies and history, whose interpretations had themselves confirmed these concretizations, and it anticipated by many years literary historical research into the Biedermeier idyll, which highlighted the text elements stressing the contradictions which Němcová endeavoured to supress, smooth over, patch up or reconcile within her work.

  • Issue Year: 61/2013
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 183-217
  • Page Count: 35
  • Language: Czech