Title in original language: Slovenské pohádky a pověsti (niekoľko poznámok k česko-slovenským literárnym vzťahom)
Author: Jana Piroščáková
Title in English: Slovak fairy tales and legends (some remarks on Czech-Slovak literary relations)
Journal: Česko-slovenská historická ročenka 24, 2, 2022, pp. 11-28
Abstract: In this paper, I reflect on Božena Němcová’s Slovenské pohádky a pověsti [Slovak fairy tales and legends] (1857-1858) as an example par excellence of Czech-Slovak literary relations: in this collection, Němcová offered to Czech readers fairy tales collected on the territory of today’s Slovakia, using Czech with elements of Slovak in the voice of the narrator and Slovak in the voices of the characters. The remarks I wish to make concern three contexts in which I situate Němcová’s collection: correspondence, source material, and book culture. Němcová’s correspondence, I show, is the only source of information on the genesis of the collection. It contains Němcová’s private version of the story of the origins of Slovak Fairy Tales and Legends. Although compatible in detail with the information published in her preface to the book, this version cannot be checked against other sources and the views of contemporaries. Based on fairy tale manuscripts, which were used for book editions of fairy tales that appeared in Slovakia in the 19th century, I further show that Němcová’s collection influenced Pavel Dobšinský’s Prostonárodné slovenské povesti [National Slovak Legends] (1880-1883) not only in terms of the composition of genres and content, as has already been demonstrated by others several times, but also in more minute details (character names). Finally, I am interested in book culture, namely the editions of Narodní báchorky a pověsti [National tales and legends](1845-1847) and Slovenské pohádky a pověsti (Slovak fairy tales and legends) that appeared after Němcová’s death. I show how editorial practice in Czechia and Slovakia gradually blurred the distinctions between collections of Czech and Slovak fairy tales, leading to readers in both STUDIE 12 parts of the Czechoslovak republic eventually receiving tales whose original cultural, folkloric and linguistic contexts were de-emphasized.
Keywords: Božena Němcová, correspondence, fairy tale, source material, book culture