Janko Jesenský is both a writer and a poet who grew up in the atmosphere of the last phase of realism and the beginning of symbolism. His work belongs to both literary schools. His poetry was full of personally experienced love feelings. These poems were so "modern" that they outraged the conservative public and were labelled as cynical. Jesensk`s poetry was essentially ironic about the world and himself, used a light style (slightly reminiscent of Heine) which is in sharp contrast with other abrasive ways of describing intimate emotional experience. As an intellectual he also reacted to the contemporary social situation. He felt strongly about his nation`s fight for freedom, which he expressed in poems written during the war. He returned to the subject of politics during the Second World War ironically describing and parodying the political practices of the semi-totalitarian Slovak State.
As a prose writer he started with anecdotal short stories situated in a small town. He knew this environment quite well and strongly disapproved of the life style, which is why his descriptions have a satirical edge. His major prosaic work was the novel Democrats where he used all his experience of political life, something with which he was so familiar as a high official of the newly constituted Czechoslovak Republic. Even the title has an ironic meaning. Jesenský`s novel is more like a colourful rendition of the many shades of political life. This was surely his intention as he wanted to ilustrate as many "cases" as possible to be able to condemn the whole political scene. Jesenský`s "trial" is based on ethical principles. The author criticizes political practices from the point of view of morality, as a citizen living in democracy. Dr. Landík - the protagonist with autobiographical features - represents the high ground of morality (and also serves as a binding element in the whole composition). Read more