A Preliminary Survey of the Near Past: Periodizing Works of Czech Literary Authors Published from 1948 to 1989 from a Gender Perspective, with Special Regard to Dissent and Exile Literature of the 1970s and 1980s
Contradictions: A Journal for Critical Thought IV, no. 2 (2020): 87–111
Keywords: Gender, dispositives of silence, injurious attachments, discursive emergence of silencing, Czech fiction of the 1970s and 1980s, samizdat literature, exile literature
This article reads the Czech literary canon during the period from 1948 to 1989 not from a consciously feminist standpoint, but from a gender perspective. Following works of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Wendy Brown, the article’s primary focus is on fiction written by dissent and alternative writers, with an emphasis on their role in what the author calls “dispositives of silence,” consisting of the discursive emergence of silencing and the affective dimension of “injurious attachments.” The article holds that while the dissident and alternative literary scene’s opposition to the then-official regime made the need for political opposition clearly visible to it, other issues, such as the drive towards gender equality, became invisible to it, which represents a case of injurious attachments. In the article’s interpretative part, it reads literary works by writers Iva Pekárková, Tereza Boučková, and Pavel Kohout as examples that illustrate the issue of injurious attachments. In the article’s final part, it supplements its thesis on dissident and alternative literature of the 1948–1989 period with a brief sketch of the literary evolution during the period, and it presents an overview of five major – and partly contradictory – tendencies that can be identified in the four decades in question.
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