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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17321

Title: Karel Capek's Travels: Adventures of a New Vision
Authors: Solic, Mirna
Advisor: Ambros, Veronika
Department: Slavic Languages and Literatures
Keywords: Czech literature
Karel Capek
travel writing
travel and cultural identity
intermediality and narratology
Issue Date: 26-Feb-2009
Abstract: This dissertation examines the theme of travel in the work of Karel Čapek (1890-1938), both in his travelogues and fiction. Instead of assuming travel as a conventional departure to another destination, journey and return home, Čapek experimented with the topic, popular in interwar literatures and arts, as an example of the avant-garde interconnectedness between different genres and arts. Čapek used three approaches to express his experiences of traveling. First, he founded his own aesthetics of the so called “marginal forms” or “low-brow genres” which he simultaneously interpolated in his prose. Their use, which greatly changes the perspective on travel writing, is visible in comparison between Čapek’s and previous travelogues (chapter 1). Secondly, he introduced skaz as stylized spoken language to Czech literature, and changed the traditional roles of the narrator and his addressees in travelogues (chapter 2). Thirdly, he used visual elements of language, combined verbal and visual arts (illustrations and drawings) in the narrative (chapter 3). Finally, all these elements he interpolated to his prose (chapter 4) through the intertextual links with travelogues. On the example of the theme of travel in Karel Čapek’s work, my dissertation revisits some current definitions of the historical avant-garde. It shows that the recent theories, predominantly developed on the examples from Western European and Russian arts, cannot be fully applied to local artistic movements. First, it shows that the notion of the avant-garde cannot be just confined to the writers who called themselves “avant-garde” (such as Karel Teige or Vladislav Vančura). Instead, it should be also expanded to other writers, such as Karel Čapek, marginal to the avant-garde mainstream. Second, the analysis of the theme of travel in Karel Čapek’s opus shows that the Czech avant-garde was not destructive towards its literary heritage. Instead, it offered an alternative reading of tradition through artistic experiments. In extension, it also provided a new understanding of the cultural and literary identity.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17321
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures - Doctoral theses

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