THE THEME OF BALL IN SLOVAK LITERATURE (Tema plesu a balu v slovenskej literature)
The motif of ball occurs in Slovak literature quite often. However, it does most frequently in the works written at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. It is no Slovak specific feature, though. Ball was almost a constant motif in European literature of the 19th century. A debutante's situation, where her maiden ball is viewed as an admission to the society, can be found in L. N. Tolstoy's novels War and Peace (1863-1869) and Anna Karenina (1873-1878). In the Slovak social novel, a genre popular at that time, the motif in question is not only referred to as a special occasion but also as an ideological tool. Importance was attached to socializing with other fellow countrymen and consciously building a patriotic society. While the works of literary realism include scenes reflecting a real ball culture as well as some undesirable elements of ideology and glorification, the works of literary modernism, especially new romanticism, are dominated by personal experience and individual emotions. This motif contains various contradictory meanings directly related to social-historical and stylistic changes. The specific semantic space of ball and its specific themes make it possible to oscillate between tradition and innovation, reality and transcendence, along with a different modality of message and authors' narrative strategies.
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