Nový mýtus, staré rituály : O básni Josefa Kainara Stříhali dohola malého chlapečka

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Title:Nový mýtus, staré rituály : O básni Josefa Kainara Stříhali dohola malého chlapečka
Creators:
Engelking, Leszek
Journal or Publication Title:
Czech Literature, 53, 3, pp. 361-376
Uncontrolled Keywords:Kainar, Josef, Skupina 42, czech poetry, mytology, ritual,

Abstract

Josef Kainar’s Střihali dohola malého chlapečka: (“A Little Boy’s Hair Was Cut to the Skin”)—the subject of this article - is one of the best-known poems in Czech literature of the twentieth century. Literary critics have linked that poem with existential philosophy, and for good reason. The situation of the boy in the title is one of extreme transition. Important in this poem is the gaze of the Other, which Jean-Paul Sartre analyzed in Being and Nothingness. That sort of gaze objectifies the boy. Kainar’s text can also be examined from another perspective. The collection in which the poem appeared is called New Myths, and that title recalls the notion of ‘new myth’ seen in the writings of Jindřich Chalupecký, leader of Group 42, to which Kainar belonged. Writing about the shorn boy, Kainar indeed creates a new myth, one situated in ordinary life. Though a new myth, the mythmaking power of the story reinforces its connection to ancient ritual, specifically to the hairclipping rite well-known also in Slavic cultures. That ritualized haircutting has often been considered a form of initiation. It seems that in Kainar’s poem, the haircut suggests the initiation of the boy into the truth of human existence. And that human world is revealed to be devoid of any metaphysical dimension, religious conviction, or higher meaning, and tending to the merely physiological. It is a world that’s disgusting, arbitrary, and cruel.

Official URL: http://www.ceeol.com/aspx/issuedetails.aspx?issueid=AFF0B972-31D4-4EC4-BD0E-62BED9304ACF&articleid=50513F62-B56B-4A61-8145-C91B93683FA9

Title:Nový mýtus, staré rituály : O básni Josefa Kainara Stříhali dohola malého chlapečka
Translated title:New Myth, Old Ritual: Josef Kainar’s Stříhali dohola malého chlapečka
Creators:
Engelking, Leszek
Uncontrolled Keywords:Kainar, Josef, Skupina 42, czech poetry, mytology, ritual,
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PG Slavic, Baltic, Albanian languages and literature
Divisions:Humanities and Social Sciences > 9. Section of Humanities and Philology > Institute of Czech Literature > Česká literatura (Czech Literature)
Journal or Publication Title:Czech Literature
Volume:53
Number:3
Page Range:pp. 361-376
ISSN:0009-0468
Publisher:Insitute of Czech Literature, of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Related URLs:
URLURL Type
http://avi.lib.cas.cz/node/20Publisher
ID Code:5498
Item Type:Article
Deposited On:20 May 2010 12:12
Last Modified:20 May 2010 10:12

Citation

Engelking, Leszek (2005) Nový mýtus, staré rituály : O básni Josefa Kainara Stříhali dohola malého chlapečka. Czech Literature, 53 (3). pp. 361-376. ISSN 0009-0468

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