Valaska Skola, by Hugolin Gavlovic

Edited by Gerald J. Sabo, S.J. with a linguistic sketch by L'ubomir Durovic

Hugolin Gavlovic's Valaska Skola (The Shepherd's School), written in 1755 in the Slovak language before its codification in the late 1780s, will be of great interest to linguists as well as to specialists in Slovak literature and of the Slavic Baroque in general. Gavlovic (1712-87), a Franciscan priest, combined devotional poetry with an indignant social satire and broad range of secular topics. Indeed, some of this text, even eighty years after its composition, was not deemed passable by the censor. The only previous edition which was allegedly "complete" (1830-31) had a radically corrupt and somewhat incomplete text. Modern editions have had altered texts and were substantially (as much as fifty percent) abridged. This diplomatic edition is the first authentic, unabridged edition. It also publishes all the original illustrations incorporated by Gavlovic, most for the first time anywhere. A poetic form peculiar to Gavlovic, which he called a koncept, is found in Valaska Skola. It consists of twelve verses or six rhymed couplets; each verse has fourteen syllables with a caesura-like pause after the eighth syllable. Usually, some rhymed couplets of varying length are related to a koncept. The Skola comprises nearly eighteen thousand verses of fourteen syllables, and some twenty-four hundred verses of varying length for the couplet-mottos. Fifty-nine such konceptforms comprise a division called a nota by Gavlovic. Each nota is introduced by a Biblical shepherd. In the view of Professor Durovic, Valaska Skola is situated temporally as well as linguistically between the system of Pavel Dolezhal and the codification of "cultural West Slovak" by Bernolak in the 1780s. Durovic's aim in this study has been to demonstrate Gavlovic's position in relation to the two fundamental printed works, i.e., Dolezhal's and Bernolak's, within the development toward a codified and generally accepted national literary Slovak. Commentary and annotation by Professors Sabo and Durovic provide the literary, cultural, and linguistic contexts in which to appreciate this extensive text of eighteenth-century Slovak literature. "...impresses with the quality of its scholarship and the sheer importance of the project." (SEEJ).