2018

Supplementum 2018

OBSAH / CONTENTS 2018 s

Stav a perspektívy výskumu kultúrnych dejín v strednej Európe

Cultural History in Central Europe : Present State and Perspectives. Journal Supplement

Štúdie, články / Studies, Articles

Miroslav ČOVAN: Význam epigrafie pre kultúrne dejiny / Importance of Epigraphy to Cultural History (pp. 5-29)

Radomír VLČEK: Chov ruských chrtů jako nástroj poznání ruské minulosti / Breeding Russian Greyhounds as a Tool for Understanding Russian History (pp. 30-59)

Mikuláš JANČURA: Kultúrne aspekty cestovného ruchu na Slovensku v medzivojnovom období v českej a slovenskej historiografii / Cultural Aspects of Tourism in Slovakia during the Interwar Period in Czech and Slovak Historiography (pp. 61-75)

Martin HETÉNYI: Z každodenného života maďarskej menšiny na Slovensku v rokoch 1938 – 1945 (propaganda a jej formy) / From the Everyday Life of the Hungarian Minority in Slovakia in the Years 1938 – 1945 (Propaganda and its Forms) (p. 76-122)

Anton LAUČEK: Socialistický realizmus v školskej praxi (na pozadí diela Petra Jilemnického Kompas v nás) / Socialist Realism in Educational Practice (Based on the Work “Our inner compass” by Peter Jilemnický) (pp. 123-135)

Lukáš KATRIŇÁK: Fotografia ako kultúrno-historický prameň (súčasné teoretické prístupy) / Photography as a Cultural-Historical Source (Current Theoretical Approaches) (pp. 136-148)

Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement (pp. 149-150)


ABSTRAKTY

Kultúrne dejiny / Cultural History, Volume 9, Supplement, pp. 5-29 © Verbum 2018
Miroslav ČOVAN: Význam epigrafie pre kultúrne dejiny / Importance of Epigraphy to Cultural History

Keywords: epigraphy, Middle Ages, early modern era, sepulchral monuments, graffiti, Upper Hungary
ABSTRACT: The study of epigraphic sources has crucial importance for cultural history. The analysis and subsequent comparison of inscriptions from a formal and content point of view can contribute to the findings enriching the knowledge of the cultural development of our society. Several factors have to be taken into account in such research. In the first place, the inscription appears on a certain bearer (tombstone, bell, chalice, portal…). This can be key to the form and content of the inscription. Traditional conservative bearers such as bells and baptismal fonts in the middle ages contained texts that have not changed for a long time, either in content, linguistic or paleographic terms. Possible change indicates a new phase of cultural development for the region. Especially in the early modern age, sepulchral monuments are very important epigraphic source. In our territory, it is primarily about gravestones, epitaphs and tombs. The variety and amount of sepulchral inscriptions, their subsequent analysis and comparison, may be a support for cultural historians. In the first half of the 17th century, for example, the Old Testament text of the book Job dominated in sepulchral monuments of both, burghers and nobility. Another cultural phenomenon that has survived until today are graffiti inscriptions. It is clear that this was by no means just the matter of ordinary people. The most recent research confirms that the engraved or inscribed name as a memorial left also very important personalities such as the mayor of royal town, educated pastor or future Hungarian prime minister.
In recent years epigraphy has been presenting more and more frequently in Slovakia as a historical discipline which, by its findings, enriches our knowledge of history in the broadest sense. If we had to point out in what lies the greatest benefit of epigraphy, it is without a doubt an incredibly multidisciplinary overlap, which re?ects on the interconnection of basic research of inscription material with other scientific disciplines. The epigraphy is closely linked with art history, church history, archeology and protection of monuments. With these analyzes, it strongly supports the findings of medieval studies, neolatinism, history of literature, genealogy, heraldry, and campanology.
Especially for the Middle Ages, content simplicity of the inscriptions is typical in the sacral space. Typically, such inscriptions occur on traditional artifacts – bearers. For example, on our medieval bells, we find very often the inscription O Rex glorie veni cum pace (O King of Glory, Come with Peace) or the New Testament text Verbum Domini manet in aeternum (The Word of the Lord remains forever). In the sacral space, especially wall painting has the most powerfull in?uence on medieval human. However, during the Reformation, an important qualitative change takes place in favor of the text, which very often replaces the painting. In the middle of 17th century, this tendency culminates.
Numerous inscriptions are found on various profane buildings or their components. These are primarily castles, manor houses, houses of burghers and city halls. The urban element is significantly represented by its self-government. In the 16th century it is characterized by representative reconstruction of city halls. In these areas, inscriptions highlighting the ideal of good governance have an important often key role. The source of such texts are often classical authors or humanistic scholars who inspired by ancient works. It is a trend that is not only visible in our cities, but also in Poland. Due to the close commercial and cultural interconnections of our cities, especially with Silesia, this is an important finding. Many burghers, for example, who settled in Bardejov during the 16th century, came from polish Silesia. In 1615, the town hall in Levoča underwent extensive reconstruction, and it also included the creation of inscriptions of content very closely related to Bardejov. Destroyed inscription was on the southern wall of the town hall and celebrates peace as the basis for the free development of the town: “PACE REFLORESCUNT OPPIDA, MARTE CADUNT ANNO 1615.” On the west side, an inscription was created in the same year, which emphasizes the importance of the responsible government over the city: “PULCHRITUDO CIVITATIS CONCORDIA 1615.”
Sepulchral monuments, a type of epigraphic inscriptions, clearly dominates our inscription culture since the second half of the 16th century. The term “sepulchral monument” means all artifacts (also without inscriptions) that are related to funeral culture. In our territory, it is primarily about gravestones, epitaphs and tombs. These are extraordinary valuable historical sources that help us reconstruct the history of given families and supplement the prosopographic data to the lives of important individuals. Due to their traditional heraldicepigraphic dimension, they are often key to recognizing the symbology of noblemen, burghers, or representatives of the spiritual state. From the content point of view, the sepulchral inscriptions are also beneficial to the research of the history of literature, as they often contain literary works. After analyzing and comparing a large number of sepulchral inscriptions, it is possible to follow trends that have been characteristic for a particular time or group of inhabitants. Although such research is still only in its beginnings, it is already clear that, for example, with regard to biblical texts, some were particularly popular among burghers and nobility. In the first half of the 17th century, it appears to be the most popular passage in the book JOB 19:25 and following. From the sepulchral monuments tumba had the most representative shape. It is an artifact similar to a sarcophagus. The peak phase of their use dates back to the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century and until now only a few have been preserved in their complete form. Especially these artifacts are typical in using of a large text with a poetic character.
Graffiti inscriptions are another cultural phenomenon that has survived until today. The research of inscriptions of non-monumental, spontaneous character has its significance, although the findings appear questionable or uncertain. The amount of unclear initials, names or dates often have just little value, especially if they are unreadable or deliberately destroyed. It happened that, as a result of constant political and religious changes, the opponents intentionally destroyed such inscriptions especially in the 17th century. That’s what we can find in one of our most important spaces for graffiti inscriptions, located in the exterior of the Zapolya family chapel of Cathedral of St. Martin in Spišská Kapitula. Graffiti are very often also on Gothic altars. This kind of spontaneously emerging epigraphic monuments is not only recorded in the sacral space but also in the profane buildings. The most recent research confirms that the engraved or inscribed name as a memorial left also very important personalities such as the mayor of royal town, educated pastor or future Hungarian prime minister.


Kultúrne dejiny / Cultural History, Volume 9, Supplement, pp. 30-59 © Verbum 2018
Radomír VLČEK: Chov ruských chrtů jako nástroj poznání ruské minulosti / Breeding Russian Greyhounds as a Tool for Understanding Russian History

Keywords: Cultural history, history of Russia, everydayness, hunting, dog, borzoi
ABSTRACT: The essay comments on breeding Russian greyhounds – borzois – as an activity characteristic of the Russian cultural historical milieu. The borzoi was traditionally connected with the life of the Russian elites. The monarchs treated it much like the soil. For centuries, the Russian greyhound was not sold, only gifted. Usually for faithful service or as a national donation. It also appears in Russian literature as a symbol of the specific features of the Russian life. For example, the slavjanophile Alexei Sergeevich Chomyakov used it in his explanation of one of the differences between the Russian and West European milieus. The essay has an analytic-synthetic character with application of the methods of comparison and historical analogy.
Dog breeding is a common human activity, which has accompanied the man for centuries. However, it’s practical aspect consisting of the dog’s help in provision of security to the human dwelling and the livelihood gradually dropped, being replaced with the role of entertainment. As the human life became less and less determined by the nature, the dog’s position as a symbol of symbiosis with the nature, which the cultural man boasted of especially in the modern time, was growing. Commanding the dog by the man even became a symbol of his ability to control nature. The Russian greyhounds – borzois – were bred for defense of the Russians against attacks of wolf packs or other dangerous animals and help in hunting of smaller animals, which served as their food. However, the elites of the Russian society used them increasingly for hunting, which was not necessary. Alongside other symbols, they desired to show their uniqueness also through this dog, trying to make it exceptional also by its appearance. This dog became part of the identity of the Russian noblemen as well as their supreme representative who started to use this specific feature of the Russian lifestyle also as a state donation. In this activity, he claimed the right, much like in case of other movable or immovable objects, to make his own decisions in the transactions with it. A borzoi could not be simply purchased. It could only be donated or exchanged. This situation did not change until the rule of Tsar Alexander II of Russia (1855–1881) and his great reforms. Within legalization of capital entrepreneurship and abolition of serfdom, the economically successful elites of the Russian society established unique borzoi breeding stations and held exhibitions and hunting competitions in an effort to demonstrate their uniqueness. Similar pastimes abroad made the Russian elites exchange and trade the dogs, but also set standards of what the “genuine” Russian borzoi should look like and what its features should be. Then they boasted of it as an excellence typical only of the Russian milieu. As it is clear from an example of the most important Russian breeding station owned by the Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich in the second half of the 19th century in Pershin, the Russian greyhound became a symbol of their specific identity and their way of life. In October 1917, in their effort to exterminate all previous symbols of identity and manifestations of the lifestyle, the Bolsheviks devastated the breed of the Russian greyhounds. These dogs were killed not because of hunger, as it was the case of other dog breeds, but “only” to eliminate transfer of certain symbols of the tsarist or noble thinking into the everyday communist life. Fortunately not quite successfully. At that time, Russian greyhound breeding stations already existed abroad – in Great Britain, Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia. The breeding of borzoi with its specific features became a part of the cultural history in the 20th and 21st centuries, though with different identity and exceptionality. Thanks to its looks, exceptional motion properties, but also its behaviour, the borzoi is an extremely valuable breed which, however, demands a somewhat different way of life than the more common breeds.


Kultúrne dejiny / Cultural History, Volume 9, Supplement, pp. 61-75 © Verbum 2018
Mikuláš JANČURA: Kultúrne aspekty cestovného ruchu na Slovensku v medzivojnovom období v českej a slovenskej historiografii / Cultural Aspects of Tourism in Slovakia during the Interwar Period in Czech and Slovak Historiography

Keywords: Tourism, Slovak territory, First Czechoslovak republic, interwar period, historiography
ABSTRACT: Tourism became an important indicator of economic and cultural-social development in the First Czechoslovak republic. Although this is a very complex and multiple-valued phenomenon, which includes a number of activities, tourism is a sensitive indicator of large-scale structural transformation processes in an all-society context. From a cultural point of view, its development re?ected a number of interrelated aspects in the period under review. For example, a modern way of spending free time (motivation to travel, leisure travel, choice of destination, etc.), modernization of traditional and development of modern transport segments (perception of spatial mobility, quality and characteristics linked to the ways of these transfers, etc.) own institutionalization of tourism (travel agencies, promotion) or growing importance of services (gastronomy, hotel industry, etc.). Despite its complicated nature and research potential the topic has been marginal within the scientific and academic society. Systematic travel research in Slovak environment has begun to focus more on older history, with less attention being paid to newer history in the form of works dealing with partial aspects. In addition to historical science, sociology and economics are also concerned with the issue. In Czech historiography, the issue is treated a little more rigorously and studied from several angles. Monographs and studies include economic, legislative and cultural aspects, as well as dimensions, transport or international relations. On this basis, the aim of this study is to point out the problematic nature of the term “tourism”, to define its cultural and historical aspects in selected period, and then to approach, evaluate and compare a selected sample of works from the Czech and Slovak research environment. The paper introduces the initial heuristic sonde to the planned wider and deeper research on the subject.
The aim of the submitted paper is to point out the problematic nature of the term “tourism”, to define its cultural and historical aspects during the selected period, evaluate and compare a selected sample of works on tourism history from Czech and Slovak research environments with special regard to the defined cultural-historical aspects. The paper represents the primary heuristic sonde for the planned wider and deeper research of tourism in Slovakia during the inter-war period. A shift in knowledge of the studied subject is represented mainly at the level of heuristics and conceptualization of problems in historiography and its evaluation. Tourism is a very complex and inhomogeneous phenomenon that includes a multitude of activities and in terms of its research, a plurality of interdisciplinary transitions. On this basis, it is also possible to talk about the relevant plurality of approaches, definitions, definitions, conceptualizations and interpretative frameworks applied by different disciplines. Such key elements are history, cultural anthropology, geography, sociology, economics, psychology, pedagogy, etc. In general, tourism is one of the significant and relatively sensitive indicators of large-scale structural transformation processes in a societal context at different levels, from politics and economy to the cultural and social sphere, which is particularly true for the first half of the 20th century. The development of tourism in the selected period affected also the territory of Czechoslovakia and despite the social, economic and partly cultural situation in the country, it became an important indicator of the economic level but also of the extensive transformation processes at the cultural and social level during the interwar period. This is particularly true for the territory of Slovakia, which resembled numerous economic and cultural disproportions against Czech lands, but extensive modernization transformation processes affected it considerably during the selected period. From the cultural point of view, the development of tourism was re?ected in a number of interrelated aspects. For example, we may discuss a modern way of spending leisure time at the level of various travel motives, leisure travel, behavioural patterns and motivations when choosing a destination, etc. It also includes the modernization of traditional and development of modern transport segments, whether at the level of their own physical development but also at the level of perception and survival of spatial mobility, perception and survival of the quality and characteristics associated with the modes of these movements, Last but not least, is also the institutionalization of tourism at the level of travel agencies or promotions, as well as the increasing importance of services, such as gastronomy, hotel services etc. Topic of tourism in the inter-war period is despite its division and research potential, at the edge of researchers’ attention. In Slovak historiography, systematic research on travel and spatial mobility began to focus more on older history. Recently, there has been paid attention to partial aspect of tourism, more in the form of different analytical studies and articles than in works of synthesis. The complex work dedicated to tourism issues in Slovakia in the form of a comprehensive monograph was not written in the first half of the 20th century, or in the inter-war period Apart from historical science, also sociology and economics are interested in the topic in Slovakia. Despite the marginal level of elaboration, it would be unwise to state that historical science in Slovakia neglects the mentioned phenomenon. A problem factor is the mentioned plurality of areas that link the phenomenon of tourism, and also the plurality of interpretative frameworks used by various scientific disciplines. This results in a non-uniform methodological and interpretative basis. In addition, historians make the situation a rather fragmented source base, which is related to the unlimited competencies and inconsistent access to tourism by individual ministries, respectively. Responsible corporations that have led to separate agendas in this relationship. The work of historians is complicated by fragmented source base what is connected to defined competencies and inconsistent approach to tourism by individual ministries, respectively. Paper presents works from the Slovak research environment, which is evaluated within groups of monothematic works with a more popular character, socio-economical works. Subsequently, the issue is approached within the framework of books by historians dealing with, for example, history of transport, federal life, history of gastronomy and hotel services in the wider context of economic and social history. We may mention analytical studies with partial analysis of tourism and, to a lesser extent, more complex monographs, especially in Slovakia’s economic and social history. Czech historiography, discusses the issue of tourism in the inter-war period more rigorously and its research involves several aspects. Monographs and studies include economic, legislative and cultural aspects. Naturally, we may observe also dimensions of transport or international relations. In this study, a methodologically tuned work focusing on conceptualizing the concepts of “mobility”, “transport”, “travel” and “tourism” is anchored in the wider cultural, social and economic context of developing transport opportunities as well as motivating individuals to dynamite their present. Attention is also paid to a comprehensive monograph on the history of tourism in interwar Czechoslovakia in selected period. Paper fix on the whole range of assumptions as well as various limitations of its development in the economic, social and cultural conditions of Czechoslovakia. Attention is paid towards state tourism policy, mass, mass tourism, its institutional background, individual travel, promotion, and service or transport options. At the same time, it puts domestic tourism in a wider foreign context; it depicts also necessary formalities for traveling abroad or statistical expression of the ratio of the ingoing and outgoing tourism. Particular attention is paid to cultural aspects that are based on the “possibilities of individuality” (fund of his / her leisure time, financial background, motives, or local conditions). Despite the fact that Slovakia is described only in marginalized way in the work, it presents a valuable and beneficial input into the topic, while the methodological approach of the author used in monograph can be applied to tourism research in Slovakia in the selected period. Main results of the paper lay in naming of key issues in the understanding of the tourism issue by historians, pointing to the problem of the re-evaluation and methodological alignment of the interpretative frameworks of the issue and to pointing to the quantitative and qualitative disproportion of the problem processing in the Czech and Slovak historiography, by example of a more detailed sample of research work. Final results of the paper lay in naming the key problems addressing the topic of tourism by historians. It is necessary to rethink and methodologically unify research frames of the topic. To point out the disproportion of the discussed problem in Czech and Slovak historiography, on the example of a selected scientific papers.


Kultúrne dejiny / Cultural History, Volume 9, Supplement, pp. 76-122 © Verbum 2018
Martin HETÉNYI: Z každodenného života maďarskej menšiny na Slovensku v rokoch 1938 – 1945 (propaganda a jej formy) / From the Everyday Life of the Hungarian Minority in Slovakia in the Years 1938 – 1945 (Propaganda and its Forms)

Keywords: Hungarian minority, Slovak State, cultural-social life, charitable activitities, repressive pressure, propaganda
ABSTRACT: The development of cultural life and the effort to increase the education of Hungarian minority in Slovakia were negatively determined mostly by critical Slovak – Hungarian state relations as well as gradual liquidation of plural democracy and proper relation to minorities within political life after Vienna arbitration. Occasional increasing tendencies of cultural activities have something to do with short time thawing of relations between Slovakia and Hungary. From this study we can see that cultural-social activities of Hungarian minority, Radio broadcasts, cinematography, theatrical performances, sport, libraries and periodic press included, succumbed to repressive pressure power-repressive machinery of totalitarian Slovak Populist Party treatment which precluded the work in this feld despite developed tradition. It was a reciprocal principle of owning between Slovak and Hungarian diplomacy. The results of this study are based on the research of archive funds of certain political and security offices.
Hitler made a decision to destroy ČSR gradually and the development of the foreign policy made it easier for him. Political changes in Slovakia after 6th October 1938 called into existence the authoritative-totalitarian regime. Foreign policy of Nazi Germany brought Slovakia and its neighbour – Horthy´s Hungary, into vassalage.
The political system of the Slovak State fostered the creation of differentiated condition for the existence of ethnic minorities. The position of the Hungarian minority was specific in a number of aspects. Its development was connected with the overall development of society, particularly with the gradual elimination of pluralist democracy and a proper regard to minorities in political life. Undemocratic steps against the Hungarian minority fell into the area of political nationalism of HSĽS, however, they were mainly affected by a tense SlovakHungarian interstate interaction. The development of cultural life and the effort to increase the education of Hungarian minority in Slovakia were negatively determined mostly by critical Slovak-Hungarian state relations as well as gradual liquidation of plural democracy and proper relation to minorities within political life after Vienna arbitration. More problems (mostly expressed by reciprocal actions) rose when the Slovaks lost the southern part, Hungarian administration adopted some steps on an arbitration ground and population had to strike against continued problems happening on mutual borders. It was mainly about the reciprocal principle of harmful owning between Slovak and Hungarian diplomacy. Except hypocritical Berlin just only the reciprocal principle restrained catastrophical effects of mutual malignity. Since the position of Slovaks in Hungary was drastically deteriorated, the Slovak government began taking retaliatory measures against the 67,000 Hungarian minority in Slovakia. Occasional increasing tendencies of cultural activities have something to do with short time thawing of relations between Slovakia and Hungary.
Nearly all Hungarian cultural, sport and social associations were related to Hungarian Party in Slovakia. Most Hungarians agreed with its policy and/or endorsed it. In September 1940, the Party adopted a new program. It was based on the traditional pre-Munich postulates; however, greater emphasis was placed on education, cultural, linguistic and social issues. The Party had around 30 000 registered members, 12 regional organizations, 104 local organizations, 28 Hungarian houses, which became the cultural, social and political centres of the Hungarians. Special sections appeared in the Party over time - cultural, sports, social, financial, educational, merchant and craftsmen, agricultural. The social section secured the benefits for the poorest Hungarians. The sports section organized sports competitions for clubs from the Hungarian villages. In the feld of culture, the Party used mainly theatrical performances as a means of agitation. The educational level was sought to be risen through the dissemination of printed materials and literary works (among them even those from banned Hungarian authors). The Party was strongly focusing on various methods to support the Hungarian families. From 1940 on, the Hungarian Party even ran a funeral department, which covered some of the funeral costs of the Party members. The creation of worker section was rejected by the Interior Ministry. The committees of local Hungarian Party organizations, i.e. the driving organizational force, were dominated by traders, farmers, lawyers, private officials and retired private intelligentsia. The Party was also significantly supported by the local clergy and teachers of Hungarian schools. Many activities of the Hungarian Party ended up with riots of the Guardists and Freiwillige Schutzstaffel members, damaging many private and public houses. Physical attacks were also quite frequent.
Radio broadcasts, cinematography, local libraries were there to educate the citizens of Hungarian minority. Authorities tried to eliminate and put under control the literature which was incongruous with regime of totalitarian Slovak Populist Party treatment. Hungarian minority was also educated via press. Hungarian press had not only various information aims, but it also had the function of defence against anti - Hungarian attacks. Power bodies actually restricted the in?uence of Hungarian press very often – restriction of Hungarian press distribution, strong police censorship, prohibition of import of periodic magazines published in Hungary, seizing of Hungarian nationality journalists’ identity cards, domestic inspection. From this study we can see that cultural-social activities of Hungarian minority, libraries and periodic press included, succumbed to repressive pressure of power-repressive machinery of Slovak Populist Party treatment which precluded the work in this feld despite developed tradition.
More than 160 small frontier connections were mainly used by peasants, farmers of the frontier region. In November 1939 first common Treaty between the Slovak republic and Hungarian kingdom was restricted. It was about reorganization of mutual interchange of goods. So the mutual trade could have been developed naturally in the Slovak-Hungarian boundary-line during another period. Hungary imported agricultural, industrial products and raw materials into Slovakia, and Slovakia mostly exported industrial goods, wood, wood coal and lime. On the arbitral area, at the end of year 1938, Hungarian civil administration took over the powers of Hungarian military members and at the same time on a local level took the lead in deliberations with Slovak partners. The aim of deliberations was the elimination of the frontier problem. Despite the deliberation there had always been administrational and personal problems related to crossing the borders on both sides - Slovak and Hungarian.
Opinions of population of Slovak-Hungarian border-line were affected by the fact that they were neighbouring with the country honoured as their home land. Hungarian propaganda helped to consolidate that Hungary is close not as a zone but also spiritually. The same thing happened on the other side too and it caused interesting propaganda´s fights. Propaganda was able to raise the passion as well as the apathy. The most common forms of propaganda were handing-out lea?ets, propagating of tendentious maps and photographic material, ostentatious decoration of Hungarian train transporters but mostly the verbal propaganda. Its main topics were land profits, comparing the standards of living, analysis of political problems, and governmental relations with Berlin. They were many times seen as irreal or absurd. Until year 1944 some rumours were resounded (that Hungary will occupy more parts of Slovakia) and this happened mostly inter motive power parts of propaganda – The Hungarians in Slovakia. Slovak antipropaganda had enough intensity not to be behind in its effort what is clearly seen in articles in the press of that period. History of this issue finishes with liberation of the country and with annulation of Munich and Viennese decreases. After May 1945 begun another difficult period of Slovak-Hungarian relations that were being solved in the context of events of pre-war and war years.


Kultúrne dejiny / Cultural History, Volume 9, Supplement, pp. 123-135 © Verbum 2018
Anton LAUČEK: Socialistický realizmus v školskej praxi (na pozadí diela Petra Jilemnického Kompas v nás) / Socialist Realism in Educational Practice (Based on the Work “Our inner compass” by Peter Jilemnický)

Keywords: Socialist realism, party-spirit, folksiness, typification, artistry, literary garbage
ABSTRACT: To be an emblematic, example work of socialist realism in the era of communist totality in Slovakia was considered a book by Peter Jilemnický Kompas v nás (Our inner compass). This work portrays the Soviet Union as a country where also a slovak working man can find happiness, though ignoring several facts from the time of the totalitarian government of Josif Vissarionovič Stalin.
It fails to mention that the bolshevik plan of extensive industrialization collapsed and the promised material wellbeing turned out to be fiction, that there was a catastrophic shortage of basic needs for life and as a consequence of famine the cases of cannibalism spread. Unqualifed and unrestrained stalinist politics accepted no mistakes and therefore “subversive elements” were searched for among innocent people. The book by Jilemnický does not say anything about mass arrests and hundreds of thousands of death sentences within the framework of staged processes. The words like law, justice, democracy and freedom became empty and their users, even if only verbally, became suspicious. It is exactly those years that the stories of protagonists of the book Kompas v nás (Our inner compass) are tied with, acquired – as was expressed by the author – by his personal experience. The view of the situation in the country then considerably deforms attitude of Jilemnický to the ideals of bolshevik revolution. In the scope of the critical re?ection it is therefore necessary to think about the question to what extent is the message of such ethics and ideals – highly evaluated by the marxist critics then – up to date nowadays. During the era of totality educational praxis “uncovered” numerous attributes of socialist realism in this book: communist party involvement, folksiness, typification, truthfulness, artistic mastery. It pointed out “a characteristic feature” of socialist realism, namely “multilateral perspective” coming from progressive artistic traditions, revolutionary theory and revolutionary praxis. But the method of socialist realism – as it is stated following a period of time – was never completely put in practice in any case in all its attributes in the literary praxis.
Socialist realism was ordered as the only creative method to writers in a period of the Communist totality. Actually, it was a reaction of a conquering indecent proletarian to so-termed difficult incomprehensible literature. A misapprehension of literature became one of barriers for a simple man and a sign of being inferior in the society of the previous period.
New socialist literature intended to form so-termed comprehensible arts for people. There originated schematic texts and texts affected by the Marxist doctrine in which a hero from among ordinary people wins in the end together with ideology in the name of which he or she fights. Peter Jilemnický was denoted as a pioneer of socialist realism in Slovakia in the period of the Communist totality. His work Kompas v nás (Our inner compass) was classifed by Marxistically oriented critics as “the highlight” of his works in the period between wars. Educational practice “revealed” several attributes of socialist realism: Communistic partiality, vernacularity, characterization, trueness, artistry.
In three couples of novellas – they depict life in the former Soviet Union (author worked there in the production cooperative Interhelpo as a teacher, later among Czech resettlers by the Black Sea) and life in Slovakia between wars – author intends to answer the question of conditions under which a man can be happy and free. Life in Slovakia is marked by legacy of backwardness and poverty together with a problem to “revolutionary” transform thinking of people. In author’s opinion “material poverty goes hand-in-hand with poverty in heads and souls” and a reason of this situation is a sustained capitalistic society deformed by relations in the society and production. A base for an escape from backwardness and poverty may be only a change of a social system, a revolutionary twist similar to the one that took place in the Soviet Union. Author’s compass needle points to this country as an example to follow.
Protagonists of the work are simple people suffering and deformed under capitalism. Reasons for shortage affecting the whole country and its people a reader can easy understand and identify. Those who search new possibilities of independent work and new home in the Soviet union met also new relations, new quality of lives, new “soviet” people and find; often at the price of sacrifice, a decent position in the Soviet society. Author selects typical characters that face typical situations. His characters, often shaped by their classes, carry features that represent sharp contrast compared to characters that are not “class-conscious”. Con?icts among them develop the plot that also contains a fight among classes, between socialist morale and morale stained by capitalism. A typical protagonist shapes and especially becomes mature ideologically in this rivalry.
The view of the attributes of socialist realism in the work of an author might vary considerably as far as contemporary educational praxis in the realm of critical re?ection is concerned. The use of party viewpoint in the work of Jilemnický can be seen as polarized when we talk about values connected with unambiguous analogy of meanings. The author strives to introduce building of communism in the Soviet Union as a phenomenon which is very close to a common man and portrays the communist society as an aim to which humanity moves in the most natural and legitimate way, even for the price of sacrifices and hardships. On the contrary, the situation in Slovakia – according to the author – is marked by poverty and capitalist morality which is in fact abnormal and dangerous for further development of the society. In his book we do not find any indication that the Soviet society then – portrayed by Jilemnický – had very uniformed structure and was in fact politically and morally torn apart through chaos and murdering that was typical for the bolshevik government. The author presents selected achievements as the final victory of goodness reached by the nations of the Soviet Union thanks to their party politics and „the most scientific“ or marxist theory pushed ahead by the Communist Party. Jilemnický was a gifted writer, He tries to persuade his reader about documentary background and realism, writing tangibly, sensuously, with fictious authenticity. On one hand the author confirms his modernist stand but on the other he looks like a campaigner who from time to time presents his ideology with a certain vulgarity. He brings the so-called “art for the price of art” and selected or deformed ideologically unacceptable facts. His penetration into psychology of his characters strictly follows certain limits – doubtful attitude towards politics of the communist parties is out of question, true criticism of the soviet structures of power is not accepted. The characters are in?uenced by propaganda, speaking only within the framework allowed by ideological norms. In his work we can feel symptoms of schematical rhetoric which was later developed through “the construction” texts of the nineteen-fifties. Looking back after time we can say that the method of socialist realism never reached its complete fulfilment in all postulated and expected attributes. It never happened even in the book thought to be emblematic work representing and inspiring this method in our literature. The decisive criteria for evaluation of works in the fifth decade of the twentieth century became their ideological spectrum and the greatest possible closeness to masses, all of which was done at the expense of typification, truth and genuine artistic mastery. The texts coming from the mentioned period were written under the in?uence of totalitarian ideology and pressure of totalitarian power. Mainly we speak about production prose and construction poetry marked by the scheme and dogma of marxism – together with Kompas v nás (Our inner compass) we can see them as literary trash and literary curiosity in contemporary educational praxis.


Kultúrne dejiny / Cultural History, Volume 9, Supplement, pp. 136-148 © Verbum 2018
Lukáš KATRIŇÁK: Fotografia ako kultúrno-historický prameň (súčasné teoretické prístupy) / Photography as a Cultural-Historical Source (Current Theoretical Approaches)

Keywords: Photography, methodology, iconographic method, semiotic approach, historiography
ABSTRACT: The title shows the possibilities of using theoretical approaches to photography as a historical source and points out that the use of photography in the Slovak and Czech historical science is in contrast to the Anglo-American or German environment at the edge of interest. Author deals with the iconographic method and the semiotic approach. The iconographic method has established itself primarily in the history of art. Its analytical principle consists of a description of the displayed objects, their relationships and explanations of the discovered contingency. The semiotic approach analyses photo by decomposing a photographic image (character) on a set of smaller characters (referents). The photo image is therefore perceived as a special text encoded by a specific character system that fils the role of the communication medium. These approaches are limited in Slovak and Czech historiography, in a small range of work that the author analyses.
The photograph was recognized by the International Committee of Historical Sciences as a historical source in the early 1930s. Despite this fact, historians have been avoiding to use it for historical research almost half of a century. We may find the reason in the previously absent methodology, the researchers focusing on the written sources did not know how to work with such a picture source. A significant turnaround in the interest of visual material occurred in the 1960s, when photography became a scope for social scientists. This attention has subsequently moved to other felds of science, including history as a consequence of research of everyday life history.
The aim of this study is to introduce the theoretical approaches for using photography as a cultural and historical source. The first part deals with an iconographic method and a semiotic approach. The second part of the paper focuses on the positioning of photography as a historical source in Slovak historiography, pointing to the fact that its use in Slovak historical science is still on the periphery, unlike in the Anglo-American or German environment.
Criticism of the source is an important step before its analysis. Concerning image sources, photography is a special phenomenon, because reality is not displayed on the basis of analogies but as its re?ection. Additionally, although we are aware of its ambiguity, we tend to approach it as a piece of evidence illustrating one objective truth. The subject of criticism is to discover not only the authenticity of the source, circumstances, the place and the time of its origin, but also information about the photographer’s personality, the origins of the source and the factors in?uencing its content. Using the criticism of the source we may judge whether it is a genuine source or a fake.
The iconographic method was originally introduced in the history of art for analysis and interpretation of paintings, and later specifically adapted for interpretation of photographs. The analysis consists of three levels. The first is a pre-iconographic interpretation, which consists of the marking of individual objects and events. The second level is an iconographic analysis that assigns importance to each subject. It is based on professional artistic and historical knowledge and knowledge of contemporary realities. The last level is an iconological interpretation of the inner meaning of the work of art. At this level, images become a useful testimony for cultural historians. An important prerequisite for proper iconographic image analysis is the expert knowledge of the researcher from the selected period. Researchers often need to use other, e.g. written sources such as literary sources. This method has been criticized for its overly intuitive, speculative nature and indifference to the social context.
The semiotic method is one of the youngest but most important approaches to analysis of photograph. It is characterized by the fact that the photographic image (sign) is subject to decomposition on a set of smaller attributes (referents). This method puts more emphasis on the individual contradictions between the displayed attributes and unlike the iconographic method, draws attention to what is not captured in the photograph. Semiotic analysis consists of two phases of the analytical process. The first is a denotation that is analogous to preiconographic interpretation. The photo consists of several elements that must be named at this stage; it is important to dismantle each element of the image no matter how insignificant it may appear at first glance. The second phase is a connotation that is key for interpretation of photography because it involves the assignment of meaning to all the elements of the image described in the first phase.
By connotation of the individual attributes and as consequence of the mutual interrelation between the components of the image, the photograph is taken as a whole. This method is most often criticized for not taking into account contextual information important for the analysis of the photographic image. The main difference between the iconographic and semiotic methods is that while the principle of iconography consists of a description of the objects displayed, their relationships and the explanation of the revealed contexts, the semiotic approach perceives the photographic image as a specific text encoded by a specific character system that fills the role of the communication medium. The researcher can choose the right method to find out what information he wants to learn from the photo.
From the analysis of Slovak historiography, to which is devoted to the second part of the study, shows that work with photographic material as a source is marginalized in historical science. Evidence of this is the absence of relevant historical work, in this case the photograph fulfils an illustrative function. It is therefore important to present a number of works in the feld of art history, which, in terms of their interdisciplinary approach, also affect historical science. They deal mainly with the Slovak history of the twentieth century, namely the lifestyle, propaganda or visualization of a woman in visual culture. The lack of selected publications result in insufficient methodological grasp of work with the photographic source, in most cases the authors approach the analysis of photographs in an intuitive way.
There has not been published a relevant historical publication that would work with photography as a historical source in the Slovak historiography, a greater interest in such a type of visual material lies in the feld of art history. The reason we may see in fact that the acquisition of art-historical methods as well as the formal and content analysis of the work belong to the study of the history of art. We see another reason in the feld of historical science itself. While the interest in photography in the Anglo-American environment is noticeable in the 1980s, Czechoslovakia was part of the USSR, and historical science developed in a completely different way under the influence of the regime, which was until the fall of the communist regime. In the nineties, Slovak historiography had to deal with the research of topics that were undesirable in previous years. The overcoming of this disability is visible only lately with the arrival of a new generation of young historians reflecting trends in Western European historiography.

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