chapter  10
The Adoption of Byzantine Motifs in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Czech and Moravian Historical Novel Production
Pages 10

Literary adaptations of historical subjects have a long tradition in Czech and Moravian prose literature. Since the late nineteenth century, historical prose in the Czech lands systematically developed in close association with Romanticism. The development of historical prose was closely connected with the Czech National Revival, with the era of the great Czech, Moravian and Slovak historians Pavel Josef Šafařík and František Palacký, and with their historiographical works on Czech and Moravian history. It was motivated by an endeavour to make historiography an instrument of broad scope and impact. The generation of novelists at the end of the nineteenth century had abandoned Walter Scott’s Romanticism and were focused on presenting the most plausible possible image of the past, based on knowledge of historical material and on a systematic study of archive documentation. The n-desiècle nineteenth-century generation had been inspired by world history and had pursued universal humanitarian ideals. In contrast, the realists, under the influence of the crisis in political and social life at the end of the nineteenth century, identified with the demands of realism, seeking subjects and an

1 Prof. Dr. hab. P. Marciniak quotes data on Slovak and Czech literature based on the original manuscript of this article in his book entitled Ikona dekadencji. Wybrane problemy europejskiej recepcji Bizancjum od XVII do XX wieku [e Icon of Decadence: Selected Problems of the European Reception of Byzantium Between the Seventeenth and Twentieth Centuries] (Katowice, 2009), 18-19 and 86-7.