"Faith, Truth, Fidelty" Věrnost in Post-Munich Czech Poetry - completed
The Munich Agreement, which spelled the end for the First Czechoslovak Republic and ultimately led to the founding of the widely despised Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, was keenly felt by the Czech people. To this day, it remains a painful and defining chapter of Czech historiography – not least because the Agreement can be seen as marking the moment that the nation's relative inconsequentiality in the eyes of the democratic West became all too obvious. Indeed, it is not for nothing that the events of that fateful night in September 1938 are sometimes referred to as the Munich Betrayal. From František Halas’ Torzo Naděje to Josef Hora’s Domov or Jaroslav Seifert’s Zhasněte světla, the spectre of national crisis looms large in a great many works of Czech literature published during the late 1930s and early 1940s, forming part of a larger cultural resistance to the political threats of the day. For the most part, though, they have received comparatively little scholarly attention, especially when held up against other collections by the authors in question.
On the basis of a broad understanding of narrative that does not automatically exclude lyric poetry, my PhD project examines the works of a number of Czech poets, published between 1938 and 1941 against the backdrop of the so-called narodní ohrožení. Taking into account aspects such as the use of allegory, eventfulness (in both the narratalogical and philosophical sense of the “event”) and sensory appeals, I seek to demonstrate the strategies employed by the poets to recount contemporary events and enshrine them within a much larger narrative, in which the Czech nation continues to survive despite recurrent outside threats. Emphasis is also placed on the poetic construction of loyalty. However, I note that this is not generally directed towards to the disbanded First Republic, but rather to a more mythological understanding of Czech national identity. The project title refers in part to the manifesto Věrni zůstaneme (Engl.: We shall remain faithful), which was published in May 1938 with the signatures of many leading literary figures.
Please also see an overview of her project in the Graduate School's Newsletter Nr. 9, Winter Semester 2017/18.
Frances Jackson was born in Stockport, Great Britain. She studied German, Czech and East European Studies in Oxford, Brno and Munich. She obtained a Master's degree in 2014, writing her thesis on women in Jiří Wolker's non-poetic works. In November 2014, she began her doctoral studies at the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies under the supervision of Prof. Raoul Eshelman.
Positions, Assignments and Memberships
- Member of the Study Group "Literature - Narrativity - Discourse"
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
Stín národního ohrožení v lyrice Jaroslava Kolmana Cassia [Der Schatten der nationalen Gefährdung in der Lyrik von Jaroslav Kolman Cassius]. In: Lucie Antošíková u.a. (Hgg.): Zatemněno. Česká literatura a kultura v protektorátu, Praha 2017.
Verrat, Diktat, Mythos. Zum 80. Jahrestag des Münchner Abkommens. In: Erinnerungskulturen. Erinnerung und Geschichtspolitik im östlichen und südöstlichen Europa, 28.09.2018.
Erinnerung durch Fiktion. David Jan Žák und der "König des Böhmerwaldes". In: Erinnerungskulturen. Erinnerung und Geschichtspolitik im östlichen und südöstlichen Europa, 06.04.2017.
"The Return of the King of the Bohemian Forest." An excerpt of David Jan Žák's novel "Návrat krále Šumavy". In: BODY, 09.06.2018
"He Dreamed He Was Being Bitten By Swans" from Vratislav Maňáks' collection "Šaty z igelitu". In: Underpass, January 2018.
"Having One Another", Extract of Luise Maier's novel "Dass wir uns haben". In: Your Impossible Voice 16, Spring 2018.
"The Collector of Lists", Extract of Lena Gorelik's novel "Die Listensammlerin". In: The Missing Slate, November 25, 2016.
"Undine" from Lydia Mischkulnig's collection "Die Paradiesmaschine". In: No Man's Land 11, Winter 201
"'Unsere Felder schreien Verrat' Das Münchner Abkommen in der tschechischen Dichtung". Academic Introduction to the poetry reading on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement the at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich on 15 October 2018.
"Homeward bound? Allegorical travels in Josef Hora’s 'Jan houslista'" (41st Annual Conference of the Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies, NUI Galway, Ireland, May 2017)
"Lyrical restistance? Czech poetry in the aftermath of the Munich Agreement" (International Conference "Everyday Revolutions in Southern and Eastern Europe", University of Manchester, Grreat Britain, May 2017)
"Quid credas… Allegory in post-Munich Czech poetry" (Interdisciplinary Workshop "Cultural Orders", LMU München, June 2017)
"Formen der Erinnerung in der tschechischen Dichtung (1938–1942)" (SPIM-Meeting, LMU München, June 2017)
"Der Schatten der nationalen Gefährdung in der Lyrik von Jaroslav Kolman Cassius" (International Symposium "Česká literatura a kultura v protektorátu", Ostrava, November 2016).
Presentation at the BASEES-Conference, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, April 2016.
Other Presentations (selected)
Readings (organization and moderation)
"'Unsere Felder schreien Verrat' Das Münchner Abkommen in der tschechischen Dichtung". Poetry reading on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement the at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich on 15 October 2018 with Stefan Hunstein, Jaromír Konečný and Jan Čech.