Urban's protagonists know, or it is better to say, embody the issues of modern humanity to the very roots of their being. The identity and lacunae in an individual with a wider social whole reminds us of the world and structure of ancient tragedy although this is only an analogy to the primitive world of Aeschylean tragedy, which creates law and which knows individuality as a complex of unpredictable change and genetic diversity. The tragic and dramatic in Urban's artistic world emerges from his work.
When Urban published his major work <i>The Living Whip</i> some representatives of the established generation (such as Nádaši-Jégé, but also the younger critic Š. Krčméry) attacked his depiction of the Slovak village. It seemed to them that he was tampering with reality.<br />
In fact, he was experimenting with a new perception, establishing a kind of fictional reality in the general atmosphere of experimentation that involved all European literature after the war, a process whose beginnings went back to the pre-war period. Even in his first successful effort, Urban was aware of the larger European literary context.<br />
Urban saw the Slovak village involved in a dynamic process of change. He was the first one to point out the resulting atomization of village culture. Modernity had made encroachments on the village world earlier, but Urban took as his point of departure the convulsions produced by the war. The world before the war entered the village was markedly different from the world in which the war made itself at home. The allegorical arrival of war in the village is one of the great moments in <i>The Living Whip</i>. In this novel, an expressionist transformation takes place. The fairy-tale world of the village, where myth and legend reside, is gradually replaced by a world of harsh and deadly truths, a delirious, corrupt, and destructive world normally associated with the city. Urban achieved this transformation through the use of striking imagery.</p>