Generation 56

In 1956 the journal Kultúrny Život published the pamphlet Démon súhlasu (The Demon of Conformity) by Dominik Tatarka, in which the author criticised the schizophrenia of the socialist, the split between the ‘public’ and ‘private’ man, thus pointing to the unacceptability of totalitarianism. In the latter half of the 1950s the Generation 56 writers group was formed around the journal Mladá Tvorba, comprising Anton Hykisch, Marína Čeretková-Gállová, Peter Balgha, Jaroslava Blažková and others. Although the intention of these authors was clearly to strip literature of ideology and emotionalise it, often in a controversial manner, chiefly through the young protagonist, they did not always succeed in creating convincing prose. For example, we can notice some disproportion in A Hykisch’s short story Naďa (1964) between the fact-finding depiction of the subject matter of the production and the grandiloquent emotional description of the intimate life of the protagonists. Jaroslava Blažková’s debut Nylonový mesiac (The Nylon Moon, 1961) was successful with readers, but her second book, Jahniatko a grandi (The Lamb and the Grandees, 1964), aroused debate on ethical and aesthetic issues, and whether her prose was included in so-called women’s (intentional) literature. The value of her prose was partially rehabilitated only after 1989. By contrast, Čeretková-Gállová in her first book Koniec líšky (The End of the Fox, 1962) and in her other prose works captured the emotional life of women protagonists in a popularising way.
Drawing on the preceding lines of thought, in the early sixties Ladislav Ťažký, Andrej Chudoba, Peter Ševčovič and others also made their prose debuts.