Slovaks. A Century Longer Than a Hundred Years

Slovaks. A Century Longer Than a Hundred Years

Ľubomír Lipták
Date of issue: 2019
Volume: 22 x 17 cm
Pages: 332

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Are the inhabitants of Slovakia descendants of the mythical people of the king Svatopluk that were defeated by the Magyars? When did Pressburg become Bratislava and why did Prague make it its business? What was the story behind the Slovak-Czech “hyphen war”? Finally, how to survive in Central Europe as a member of a small nation haunted by the ghost of historical myths and still preserve a personal approach to one’s own history?

“Slovaks: A Century Longer Than a Hundred Years” is a selection of historical essays by Ľubomír Lipták (1930–2003), a “philosopher of Slovak history” and a “national nihilist”, who is virtually unknown in Poland. The author narrates the story of Slovakia as an “island” located on the route of major historical currents. He seeks to create a synthetic picture of the Slovak experience and trace issues crucial for the country’s past and present. Above all, however, he presents a rational and balanced narrative of the dilemmas faced by a small nation in Central Europe that refuses to be a second-rate citizen.

The book comprises six parts dedicated to European and peripheral status of Slovakia, authoritarian regimes and the struggle against them, modernisation of the country and the lack of continuity among Slovakian elites, as well as the problem of individual and collective memory, Czech-Slovak relations, and the specificity of the Slovak philosophy of history. Together, the essays form a poignant manifestation of how the territory of Slovakia is a space of overlapping memories, different systems of values, and diverse political traditions.

“He was not interested in the national but rather in the human factor – he blamed Slovakia’s failures on individuals, their weak characters and their predatory ambitions for power. He deprived Slovaks of their romantic and messianic illusions, claiming that their history is ordinary – simultaneously dismissing the myth-making propensities of entire nation, traditionally rooted in the 19th century” – Magdalena Bustrzak, who made the selection of texts and translated them into Polish, writes in her introduction.

The publication is available only in Polish. 
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