A History of Central European Women's Writing

A History of Central European Women's Writing

A History of Central European Women's Writing

A History of Central European Women's Writing

Synopsis

A History of Central European Women's Writing offers a unique survey of literature from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. It illustrates the development of women's writing in the region from the middle ages to the present day, placing individual writers in their social and political context and showing how processes shaping their lives are reflected in their works.

Excerpt

Space precludes a detailed account of the historical background to this section, but a few facts will, I hope, help to clarify the context of the individual chapters. It is important to stress that the borders of the various European states, as we know them at the beginning of the twenty-first century, are of relatively recent date. in the period before 1800, they were subject to constant shifting through wars, jockeying for power between European ruling houses, and external pressures. the flourishing medieval Kingdoms of Bohemia, Poland and Hungary remained sovereign territories until the sixteenth century, although they lost their fully independent status with the end of their own ruling dynasties in the course of the fourteenth century. Their nobles retained considerable power throughout the medieval and early modern period, acting as brokers for various factions in the ensuing centuries of jostling between the Habsburgs, Angevins, Luxemburgers and Jagellonians. the Kingdom of Poland retained the greatest degree of independence by opting for personal union with Lithuania in 1385 and taking over Ukraine in 1569. Poland's status was lost with the partitions of 1773, 1793 and 1795, when its territories were divided between Austria, Russia and Prussia. the fate of Bohemia, and the neighbouring territory, known much later as Slovakia, is closely linked with the rise of Habsburg power in Europe. the Habsburgs also controlled a third of Hungary by the time of the Ottoman invasion which absorbed central Hungary after the battle of Mohács in 1526. the remaining third, Transylvania, then became a separate principality, subject to Ottoman tutelage. the territory of present-day Croatia was also divided: the destiny of central and northern Croatia was closely allied to that of Hungary since 1102. Most of the coast was taken over by the Venetian Republic, with the exception of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), which was rich enough to buy a measure of independence. These lands were later ruled by the Habsburgs who, in 1697, also established a buffer zone, known as the Military Frontier, between Central Europe and the Ottoman Empire.

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