Competing languages of Czech nation-building: Jan Kollár and the melodiousness of Czech

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In the modern era, the institution of literature is being reconceived across Europe as a national institution. But the new paradigm of national literatures requires a remaking of literary discourse, including the transformation of critical terminology, and this results in literary discourse becoming politicized. By analyzing the history of the term libozvučnost (melodiousness) in the Czech national literary revival, David L. Cooper demonstrates how this seemingly innocent literary term became a political lightening rod for friends pursuing the same national program. This strongly suggests that, in the formative era of national literatures, using literary issues to discuss politics is not simply a matter of instrumentalizing literary criticism for covert political activity but that discussing literary values is directly political. The example of libozvučnost also reveals how the "borrowed" discourses of Romanticism and nationalism were fundamentally remade to respond to the modern Czech situation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-320
Number of pages20
JournalSlavic Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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