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Literature shorts

A Mosaic of Medicine introduces Slovak doctors

Soňa Strachotová (left) and Mária Jasenková (right) sent A Mosaic of Slovak Medicine on its voyage.
photo: SAFS

A SPLASH of sparkling wine sent the book Mozaika slovenskej medicíny (A Mosaic of Slovak Medicine) on its voyage into the Panta Rhei book store in Bratislava's Polus City Centre shopping mall on April 26. In the Slovak-English book, Dagmar Krištofičová and Gustav Bartovic tried to remove the white jackets from 16 prominent personalities of Slovak medicine to uncover the person behind the profession.

The book contains interviews with neurologist Pavel Traubner and haematologist Elena Tóthová, among others. Oncology and radiology are represented by Eva Siracká, who is also behind the launch of Daffodil Day, a money-raising event to help people suffering from cancer. Ján Danko represents gynaecology and obstetrics and Danica Caisová-Škultétyová brings closer to the public the spheres of psychiatry and sexology. The book also contains interviews with urologist Ján Breza, paediatrician Svetozár Dluholucký and internist Ivan Ďuriš.

"Every name in this book is an authority. All these personalities are and always will be an inspiration and example for young people, current and future doctors of course, but also anyone who wants to achieve certain professional and career goals," said Soňa Strachotová, executive director of the Slovak Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (SAFS) and one of two 'godmothers' of the book, at the ceremony. The second 'godmother', Mária Jasenková, director of the Plamienok Children's Hospice, hoped that the book would receive an enthusiastic response and that people would buy and read it. The hospice will get all the revenues from the sale of the book.

Since the book was published also in English, the ambition of its authors is to draw attention to Slovak doctors abroad.

Beňovský's Memories and Travels published in Slovak

THE FIRST complete Slovak translation of the extensive literary works of Móric Beňovský (1746-1786) entitled Memories and Travels has been published in Slovakia. The book was ceremonially introduced at the Slovak Writers' Club in Bratislava on May 3.

This exceptional literary masterpiece was originally published in English in 1790, four years after Beňovský's death. Beňovský, a typical representative of the Enlightenment, proponent of the development of transport and trade and explorer of unknown regions, wrote his memoirs in French and William Nicholson translated them into English. In his diaries, Beňovský describes pieces of information he collected and adventures he experienced during his journeys, including his stays at Madagascar and Kamchatka. In a short period of time the book was translated to many world languages.

Memories and Travels was published in France, Germany, Poland, the then Hungarian monarchy and Bohemia, Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands, Russia, USA, and Japan, ranking Beňovský among the most translated and published authors from Slovakia abroad.

Slovak readers had the chance to get acquainted with the adventures of this native of the village of Vrbové, near the western Slovak town of Piešťany, in 1808 when Samuel Čerňanský translated a summary of this work. In 1966 Slovaks were able to read the first printing of this book in the modern Slovak language thanks to editor Jozef Watzka, translator Anton Spiesz and poet Rudolf Skukálek, who provided the afterword. The latter also wrote a series about Beňovský in the Slovak press at that time.

Even though this was a notable accomplishment, less than one third of the original text of 900 pages was published at that time. Only now, 216 years later, has Móric Beňovský's complete manuscript been published in the Slovak language.

The Lúč publishing house published a translation by Andrea Černáková with a helping hand provided by Ľubomír Bosák, who is deeply knowledgeable about the life of Beňovský, the globetrotter who became the King of Madagascar.

Latest Tolkien already in Slovak

ON APRIL 17, only one day after the world premiere of a 'new' book by J.R.R. Tolkien, released more than 30 years after his death, the Slovak translation hit the bookstores in Slovakia.

Tolkien's son and literary executor Christopher, now in his eighties, constructed The Children of Hurin from his father's manuscripts, and said he tried to do so "without any editorial invention".

Húrinove deti, the first translation of the book in the world, is a work by Otakar Kořínek and only his contract with the publishers prevented him from publishing the book one week before the world premiere.

J.R.R. Tolkien is popular in Slovakia, where upwards of 180,000 copies of his books have been sold. There is also a large community of Tolkien fans who re-enact battles from the books.

By Jana Liptáková

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