Exhibition on Slovenian-Czech Literary Contacts Opens at Villa Zlatica

On the occasion of World Book Day and to celebrate the birthday of the writer Zofka Kveder, an exhibition »Slovenian Literary ‘Moderna’ in the Czech Environment« was opened at Villa Zlatica. It will be on display until 22 May.

The exhibition, which was created as part of the research project Transformations of Intimacy in the Literary Discourse of Slovenian Moderna and is also on display at the Slavic Library of the National Library in Prague and the Faculty of Arts of Charles University also in Prague, was opened by the Director of the Forum of Slavic Cultures, Dr. Andreja Rihter, and the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Ljubljana, Dr. Jiři Kuděla. Both expressed their satisfaction with the project, which documents the close relationship between Slovenian and Czech cultures and their writers and their fellow cultural associates, and their pleasure that the exhibition is on display at Villa Zlatica, as its owner, Ivan Hribar, was an important cultural mediator between the two nations. Hribar, who is included in the exhibition in this capacity, was closely associated with the Czech Republic, among other things as the first ambassador of the newly established Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians in Prague.

Prof. Dr. Katja Mihurko, Head of the Research Centre for the Humanities at the University of Nova Gorica and co-author of the exhibition, outlined Slovenian-Czech cultural contacts since the Romantic period, primarily literary, but also those in the field of science and other arts. She said that the first Slovenian play was staged at the Czech National Theatre in 1898, and others soon followed. As early as 1885, Ivan Hribar initiated a trip for Slovenians to Prague to see the National Theatre, and in the same year 112 special trains left for Prague. “These connections, both human and, not least, transport connections, can still be a source of inspiration and reflection for us today,” said Dr Mihurko, who also held a short guided tour on the occasion.

The project, which is part of a special scientific research and funding scheme between the two countries, is based on the question of how authors of the modern period in Slovenia (1890-1920) articulate intimate relationships in their literary texts, how the tensions between the social and the private are reflected in language, narrative and form, and how the concepts of intimacy are inscribed in the literary text.  The exhibition pays special attention to the reception of Ivan Cankar and the phenomenon of the multicultural writer Zofka Kveder. A selection of Czech books with dedications and books by representatives of Slovenian moderna from Hribar’s personal library, held by the Slovenian National and University Library, are also on display.

Among the many partners involved in the exhibition, in addition to the University of Nova Gorica, are the Forum of Slavic Cultures and the Women Writers Route.

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