A Forgotten Sleeping Beauty Cover Image

Zapomenutá Šípková Růženka
A Forgotten Sleeping Beauty

Františk Hrubín and His Plays for Children

Author(s): Renata Ferklová
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Czech Literature
Published by: Památník národního písemnictví
Keywords: František Hrubín (1910–1971); Ludmila Burešová (married name Jahnová, b. 1917); Sleeping Beauty; Snow White; twentieth-century children’s literature; Czechoslovak Communist policy on the arts in the 1

Summary/Abstract: In this article the author considers a theatre play, A Forgotten Sleeping Beauty, by the Czech novelist and poet František Hrubín (1910–1971). It was written for children, and based on the classic fairy tale Snow White. The play opened in 1950 and was very popular, particularly amongst amateur children’s theatre companies. The author puts this play into the context of other works by Hrubín, particularly the play, Sněhurka, zvířátka a sedm mužíčků (Snow White with little animals and little people), from 1948, and mainly into the context of the totalitarian Communist policy on the arts in the late 1940s and early 1950s. She seeks to demonstrate that the destructive pressure of totalitarianism, despite what is often said now, was clearly merciless even towards children’s literature. She casts light on Hrubín’s diiculties not only in making and staging this work, but also in getting it published, and she documents the tendencies in the years of the Communist monopoly of power in the 1950s and 1960s. With her analysis of contemporary criticism, she describes the demands put on writers to relect the ideology of class war in the building of a ‘new’, socialist society and in the education of the ‘new’ man and ‘new’ woman, and the extent to which, and how, fairy tales for the stage were received both by critics and by audiences of children. The article is based primarily on the author’s research using surviving copies of the texts of both plays, period criticism, and correspondence in the František Hrubín Papers in the Literature Archive of the Museum of Czech Literature, Prague.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 48
  • Page Range: 46-82
  • Page Count: 37
  • Language: Czech