Plzeňské sympozia

Dagmar Mocná

Jan Neruda’ Rhymed Feuilletons

pp. 197–207, summary p. 208

The treatise deals with the connections between Písně kosmické [Cosmic Songs] and the feuilleton production by Jan Neruda. Although the connection seems to be inappropriate in terms of the traditional conception of the art status of the two areas, it provides a new perspective on this collection. The continuity on the feuilletonistic method of rendition was applied mainly in the initial phase of the work on the Cosmic Songs, perhaps also because Neruda was returning to poetry after an almost ten-year break and the genre in which he felt the most confident was a safe platform for him. The feuilletonistic aspect is reflected mainly in the comic stylisation of cosmic events, by which Neruda significantly violated the aesthetic tradition, ordering the authors to write about the cosmos in a serious spirit and elevated style. The comic is grotesque here on the hand (the description of the movement of space objects as a carnival dance, the bizarre personification of the planets and stars) and Biedermeier idyllic on the other. The feuilletonistic inspiration is reflected also in its being full of numerical data, scientific terms and hypotheses. When writing the collection, Neruda abundantly drew from popular astronomical treatises of his time (mainly the books by Carl du Prel and Meyer), which he used like when writing feuilletons. The connection between the Cosmic Songs and Neruda’s feuilleton production is the strongest in the genetically oldest layer of poems; as the author was approaching more general questions in his considerations of the cosmic theme, he began to prefer other stylistic positions, mainly Parnassian monumentalisation, further the modest personal lyric poetry and stirring patriotic appeals. This produced an unprecedentedly heterogeneous whole, replacing the unity of a lyrical subject by its diversity. Also in this kaleidoscopic alternation of viewpoints through which the author gradually inspects the cosmic theme, it is possible to see the influence of the feuilleton, a genre reflecting by its composition the multilateral mind of a modern man.

Key words: Bohemian Lands, 19th century, cultural history, literature, literary genre

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