chapter  6
Culture and Education
WithDavid W. Paul
Pages 26

Running through the historical development of both Czech and Slovak culture is a dual tradition. When one thinks of “art,” one usually thinks first of the fine arts—painting, sculpture, architecture, classical music, literature, and so on. Of these there is a firm tradition in Czechoslovakia. Most Czechs and Slovaks would probably consider their folk art, music, and legends a precious national heritage. The Czech and Slovak cultures were preserved through the long years of outside rule only by the common people, who kept alive their ethnic and local cultures by passing on from generation to generation folk tales, melodies, styles of various handicrafts, peasant architecture, dances, and painting. Czech became the literary language of Slovakia during the Hussite period, and prior to the times of the national awakening the most important Slovak literary work was a Latin chant book written by J. Tranovsky in 1676. Patriotic themes can be found in the literature throughout the nineteenth century.