Authors: Ján Gbúr
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The article concentrates on interpreting Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav’s (1849 – 1921) ballads – the part of his oeuvre which has only been investigated marginally so far. His ballads from the late 19th and early 20th centuries (U kaplice [At the chapel], Zuzanka Hraškovie [Zuzanka Hraškovie], Anča [Anča], Margita [Margita], Studnica [The well], Smelá Katka [Daring Katka], Topeľci [Drowned], Jedlica [Fir tree], Krivoprísažník [False witness], Mladá vdova [Young widow], Matúš Stolár [Matúš Carpenter]) adapt some of the traditional themes of folk and Romantic ballads (crime and punishment, moral failure, folk customs), but also bring new motives (search for the spiritual path from pragmatic truth criteria, property disputes and unorthodox solutions to life problems, social and economic disparity and its effects). Comparison of Hviezdoslav’s ballads with those written by Slovak poets of the Romantic period Janko Kráľ and Ján Botto shows his authentic realist attitude in the handling of the genre. Hviezdoslav accentuated the epical side of the narratives, employing several means of representation (on the level of the narrator and on the level of the structure of the stanza and verse). He realised the lyrical side of the narratives, their balladic atmosphere – also through the functional structure of the verse – but primarily through expressive, lyrical depictions and commentaries.