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166 GREGOROVÁ, Hana (1885–1958) Writer, editor and prominent literary figure in Bratislava; founder of the first literary salon in Slovakia (in her own home); first woman writer in Slovakia to show a strong interest in women’s emancipation and feminism; briefly (after 1945) Chairwoman of the Zväz slovenských žien (Union of Slovak Women). Hana Gregorová was born Anna Božena Lilgová on 30 January 1885, to a middle-class family in the town of Turčiansky Svätý Martin (T. Sv. Martin) in northern Slovakia, at that time a center of national culture. Her father Jan Lilge (d. 1900) was a dyer. Her mother Maria, born Jamnická (1849–1926) was a housewife . Anna Lilgová had five siblings. Her sister Ľudmila Thurzová (born Lilgová) (1881–1971) was a famous herbalist, co-author of Malý atlas liečivých rastlín (Small atlas of herbs, 1936). Her brother Ivan Lilge (1886–1918) was a writer, translator and publicist. Anna attended primary school in T. Sv. Martin. Later, especially in the period following her marriage (in 1907) to the outstanding critical realist writer Jozef Gregor Tajovský (1874–1940), she worked hard to provide herself with a good education . After 1907, bearing the name Hana Gregorová, she accompanied her husband to Nadlak (Romania), then to Prešov, later returning to T. Sv. Martin. In 1916, she gave birth in Budapest to an only daughter, Dagmar. Dagmar Gregorová (later Prášilová) would become a well-known actress and author, writing several books about her parents . Her descriptions of them are full of admiration, love and respect, while revealing contrasts and also some tensions between the two: he was a realist, she a romantic; he a pragmatist, she an idealist; he was an introvert, she liked to organize social events, debates on literature and art; he was more traditional in his thinking, she desired to live as an ‘emancipated woman,’ and to write. From 1919 to 1920, Gregorová lived in Košice and edited the journal Slovenský východ (Slovak east). She lived in Bratislava from 1921 until 1940 when, upon her husband’s death, she left for Prague, remaining there for the rest of her life with her daughter’s family. In addition to her literary work, Gregorová was involved in several organizations and cultural institutions: prior to 1940, she organized lectures on Slovak and Czech literature and art for the Umelecká beseda (Society of Artists) and she was 167 also a member of the Spoločnosť pre kultúrne styky so Zväzom SSR (Society for Cultural Contacts with the USSR); after 1945, she briefly became Chairwoman of the Zväz slovenských žien (Union of Slovak Women). In 1936, Gregorová took part in the Congress of Slovak writers held at Trenčianske Teplice, where she delivered a speech on children’s literature, arguing that it needed to show social reality as it was, with its social problems, and not in an idealized form. During World War II, she mediated between Czech and Slovak anti-fascists and cooperated with Czech women and writers in the field of culture and women’s issues, thus helping to strengthen the relationship between Slovak, Czech and other women writers. Hana Gregorová published several books of fiction and many articles while working as a children’s author and translator. In her first book of stories, Ženy (Women, 1912), as well as in Môj svet (My world, 1920), Pokorní ľudia (The humble ones, 1924), Zo srdca (From the heart, 1930) and Vlny duše (The waves of the soul, 1933), she revealed a deep empathy with women and a great interest in women’s emancipation. Gregorová explored the lives of women across the spectrum of social classes and generations, protesting against gender and other social inequalities. At the same time, she attempted to describe the inner, emotional lives of her female protagonists, primarily focusing on marriage and partnerships with men and the desire of women for alternatives, for more independent means of living. Addressing the array of emotional responses felt by women about their intimate relationships and social roles—from hope and expectation to frustration and disillusionment—Gregorová’s works provided sophisticated psychological analyses of love and were critical reactions to idealized representations of womanhood: i.e. female happiness acquired through marriage or motherhood (an idealism that could be found in the novels of Terézia Vansová or Elena Maróthy-Šoltésová, two of the most important contemporary Slovak women writers). Gregorová also focused on...


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