The lawsuit against Kiš was filed by Dragoljub Golubović. Golubović was a journalist and one of the biggest critics of Kiš’s book A Tomb for Boris Davidovich. In various newspapers, he had published a series of articles in which he accused Kiš of plagiarism. After Kiš's response to the allegations in the form of a collection of essays named The Anatomy Lesson, Golubović filed a lawsuit in which he accused Kiš of libel. The lawsuit quoted excerpts from the book as proof.
The court documentation in the collection shows that Kiš defended himself by explaining that his book was created as a gesture of a "legitimate and necessary defense, as a value greater than the prosecutor's honor: [a gesture] of my literary existence and my literary approach, as well as generally, as a fundamental defense against fatal and destructive judgements of a layman". In court, Kiš took the view that he was a writer and had the right to defend himself, using literature, against unfounded attacks on his work.
In a written statement delivered to the court, Kiš wrote: "The particular polemic sharpness of my book was, in addition, dictated not only by rough challenge and polemic fervour, but also by the literary genre itself: traditionally, polemic uses irony, sarcasm, ridicule, because it is a form of literary struggle." Kiš claimed further that polemics is a category of literature which an author can legitimately use and cannot be subject to claims of defamation. He listed a series of polemic writers and literature to try to defend his right to artistic expression. He also advocated for the view that literary controversy is actually a kind of public debate and is subject only to public judgment and literary history, not to be interfered with by the court.
In the end, the court accepted Kiš’s view, and acquitted him of the three counts of defamation. The court ruled that Kiš's response to Golubović in The Anatomy Lesson represents a "personal and subjective view to the prosecutor's conduct, and that this does not amount to facts serving to prove the truth, and thus it cannot be accepted as a charge for defamation.” The court also called for observing the broader context in which the book was created, which was in Kiš’s favour. However in 1979, after the lawsuit, Kiš left Yugoslavia embarrassed and disappointed.
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Piesă remarcabilă la:
In 1951, a group of 12 people, mainly actors, poets and translators, were arrested and sentenced to between seven and 25 years in prison, for ‘treason to the Motherland’. Although the charges differed in each case, the main charge common to all of them was being a member of an anti-Soviet group, whose main activity was anti-Soviet propaganda, that is, they met more or less regularly between the autumn of 1945 and the spring of 1947, in order to discuss books, plays, etc. Although the defendants claimed that political topics were not discussed at their meetings, they were charged with presenting excerpts from Andre Gide's book Le Retour de L'U.R.S.S. at one of the meetings (not all the defendants participated in this particular meeting). In fact, contrary to the claims of the security structures, there was no organized resistance group. It was a loose framework of intellectuals, who tried to continue the cultural practice of private intellectual exchange that they had been used to in independent Latvia, and that was their main crime in the eyes of the security services. In fact, they were two circles of friends who grouped around the painter Kurts Fridrihsons (1911-1991) and the translator and philologist Maija Silmale (1924-1973). Both were strong personalities, who stood out in the depressing atmosphere of the cultural life of post-Second World War Riga. They had a deep interest and knowledge about French culture, and Western culture in general, and were unable to and did not try to adapt to the new Soviet cultural environment, with its explicitly anti-Western position. Among their friends were other people who loved French culture: the poetess Elza Stērste (1885-1976), the translator and lecturer Ieva Birgere-Lase (1916-2002), and the actress Mirdza Lībiete-Erss (1924-2008). Perhaps, this was why the group was later known as the ‘French group’, although not all the people detained in these cases had a special knowledge of French culture. At the beginning of the 1950s, the persecution of the ‘bourgeois’ and especially social-democratic intelligentsia of independent Latvia reached its peak, and the arrests and sentencing of this group were intended by the security services as a warning to all the Latvian intelligentsia that attempting to exist in parallel with official Soviet culture and keep an orientation towards Western ‘cosmopolitan’ literature and art was a crime. Although the files should be viewed with caution, because they were written in such a manner as to confirm the version of the interrogators, they contain an abundance of material about the mood of the Latvian intelligentsia in the post-Second World War years, the still-existing hope that the independence of Latvia would be restored, the attempts to maintain an intellectual life outside the official constraints, and the attempts to learn about cultural life outside the USSR. Today the ‘French group’ is seen in Latvia as a vivid example of intellectual resistance to the Soviet regime. Material from the criminal files is used by academics and authors of biographical books and articles, and in the preparation of documentaries and television programmes.
- Rīga Kurzemes prospekts 5, Latvia LV-1067
- Piesă remarcabilă la:
In 1973, he published the first Roma-portrait in Valóság. This was followed by a book in 1976 entitled Nine Gypsies (Autobiography reports). As the author himself noted, the purpose of the book was to construct a different representation of the Hungarian Roma, disputing prevalent stereotypical and mostly negative images of Roma and thereby perhaps promoting solidarity and acceptance of the Hungarian Roma. The book contains long portraits of nine Roma of various age groups (mostly young adults) and both genders. The anonymised characters speak about their life and work, including the issue of interethnic relationships between “Hungarians” and Roma (conflicts, assimilation), everyday discrimination, poverty, and integration into the new socialist society. As he did in his previous novels, Csalog created new, coherent narratives from the texts, and he strove to preserve the original voice/intonation of the speakers in Nine Gypsies. This poetic style was closely connected to a social program as well which was intended to help the Hungarian Roma.
The main character of the novel is the narrator, aunt Eszter, who lives in Tiszatab (the original names were changed in the novel to protect the anonymity of the people involved). Aunt Eszter tells her story as a woman who leads a traditional peasant life. She recounts her family history and the history of Tiszatab simultaneously. The novel begins with World War I and ends in the present. With the exception of a single character, the story of the novel takes place in Tiszatab. The novel does not have a chronological or linear narrative. The chapters are organized around diverse topics (family life, love, and the narrator’s troubled marriage with her husband, the social order of the village, giving birth to her children, the emigration of her son, etc.)
Aunt Eszter was born at end of the 19th century in Tiszatab, where her family had been living for decades. When she was roughly 15 years old, her studies were interrupted as a consequence of her aunt’s order, and she returned to her village. This transition had a huge impact on aunt Eszter’s life, and it gave her a new perspective (that of an educated person) on the traditional life of the Hungarian peasantry. In the novel, she reflects on this shift several times. The main events of Hungarian history (1918, 1956) are only part of the background of the novel.
The first free elections in Czechoslovakia after 1948 took place in June 1990. During his first visit to Prague after the fall of the communist regime, Beatnik poet Allen Ginsberg signed the Czechoslovak election program. This artefact was lent by Jiří Hromada, a leading activist for the rights of sexual minorities and former president of the national organization of the Czech gay and lesbian movement, for the exhibition dedicated to Allen Ginsberg. The exhibition, organized from January to April 2018 by the Centre for Queer Memory, was related to Ginsberg’s visit to Prague in 1965. At that time, Ginsberg was elected “King of the Majales” within students’ May Celebrations “Majales”, and then was expelled from Czechoslovakia for alleged indecent behaviour. The opening of the exhibition was accompanied by a lecture dedicated to the events of 1965. Other objects that the Centre had in its collections were presented during the exhibition as well, such as the Ginsberg’s poem “Kral Majales” written in 1965 and visually arranged by the painter Robert LaVigne.