IN ITS MAIN building in Bratislava, the Slovak National Museum has prepared – together with the Slovak National Library in Martin – an exhibition showing the development of Slovak writing, literacy and literature. Although its 300-odd exhibits do not take up much space, it aims to present a complete view of the route the Slovak book has taken from its very beginnings until the present day.
The exhibition is divided into two parts. The first, The Way of the Slovak Book (Cesta slovenskej knihy) follows the ups and downs of the history, production and culture of books in Slovakia from the oldest manuscripts, unique prints, maps, calendars and codexes to the craftmanship of book-binding and book-restoring. This part is, apart from being educational, also very decorative and presented in a sophisticated way.
Through a “Glass Mirror Book” – a surprising way of opening doors to a different reality – visitors can enter the exhibition’s second part, From Proglas to Post-modernism, which shows the more symbolic development of Slovak literature over twelve centuries, as well as the libraries, working methods and a little of the private lives of the country’s authors.
The most precious pieces on show include a parchment codex from 1594, Herbarius from 1486, the Supralibros of Matej Bel, and works by famous Slovak writers like Ján Sambucco, T.G. Masaryk, M.R. Štefánik, H. Gavlovič, J. Hollý, P.O. Hviezdoslav and M. Kukučín; but also those of more recent authors, including communist-era dissident writers such as I. Kadlečík, D. Tatarka, and others.
Every second Thursday, there is a discussion (in Slovak) on different issues surrounding Slovak literature.
However, thanks to the fact that information on every exhibit is also available in English, foreign visitors can get quite a complex view of what Slovak literature was and is about and maybe even where it is heading in the era of the internet and electronic communication.
22. Mar 2010 at 0:00 | Zuzana Vilikovská