The page of Blažková, Jaroslava, English Reception
ReceptionCHARACTERISTICS OF HER WORK
A prominent member of the so-called Generation 56; a group of young authors that entered Slovak literature after the fall of Stalinism and the subsequent political „thaw”. Instead of large historical canvases typical for the older generation, these people concentrated on the literature of everyday life, on themes that captured the interest of young readers through their mundane quality, spontaneity, a new use of language and especially through a new vision of reality. The short stories of Jaroslava Blažkova, published in various other magazines, were innovative both thematically and stylistically. Blažkova used an expressive language full of colloquial elements and slang, her stories are suffused with irony and authorial self-irony. These indications of a new attitude towards reality were already present in her debut The Nylon Moon. Blažkova’s unconventional heroine, a young architect insisting on the ‘freedom of choice’ also in erotic matters, represented a remarkable step forward in what used to be called the ‘emancipation’ of fictional heroines and was a harbinger of feminist themes. The revolt of young heroines against the conventions of the times was also the central theme of her book of short stories, The Lambs and the Grandees. Halfway between prose for adults and young people is the novel My Excellent Brother Robinson. The plot describes not only the rivalry of two brothers for the favours of their contemporary, Dorotka, but also the tension between generations, where young people reject the values that adults authoritatively try to force on them. The world of Blažkova’s books for children is dominated by humour, fantasy, and the vivid language of children. In the late Sixties, at the peak of her creative powers, the author’s departure into emigration led to a violent and apparently definitive break in he writing for children. Her return to Slovakia after 1989, into the context of modern Slovak prose in the Nineties, was marked by reissues of her children’s books, a selection from her short fiction from the Sixties and the collection The Marriage at Cana of Galilee, which contains also stories written in Canada from the mid-1970s. These are stories about women, thematically anchored already in Canadian (American) reality, but the lives and emotional background of their heroines are connected with the world that had formed their perception of life and inherited moral values. The book indicates that the creative potential of Jaroslava Blažkova is not vet exhausted.
ON THE AUTHOR
Without any traces of trying to help herself by literary mannerism she has evoked a whole world of childhood and she was able to fill this mundane life with the miracle of children’s fantasy like a joyful light which changes everything that it touches without falsifying anything. (Bohuš Kováč)
THE AUTHOR ON HERSELF
My grandson, when I tell him a fairy tale, is surprised even to this day at the strange English that Granny talks. The writer and the actor depend on a perfect master of language, it is their instrument. By going abroad, unless they are really proficient in a foreign language like Milan Kundera, who spoke French from an early age, they find themselves in a terrible situation of fury and tears. But one who has become addicted to the vice of writing, cannot help himself. He writes on.
The Prize of Slovak Writer Publishing House: the best prose work of the year for the novella The Nylon Moon (1961)
The Fraňo Kráľ Prize for the best work in prose for young people for Fireworks for Grandad (1963)
The UNESCO Prize - the Honourable Diploma of Hans Christian Andersen for Fireworks for Grandad (1964)
The Prize of Mladé Letá Publishing House: the best prose work of the year for My Excellent Brother Robinson (1968)
The Prize of Mladé Letá Publishing House: for the mastery of language in children’s literature for Tales from a Red Sock. This prize was awarded for the first time. Immediately afterwards the authorities had the book pulped.
The Bibiana Triple Rose Prize for her life’s work for children (1999)