Until the middle of the century. XIX the Slovaks used Latin and Czech for literary purposes, variously tinged with local dialectal influences, or, more rarely, Hungarian. It was, moreover, a modest and almost never original literature, which followed, in doctrinal disputes, in poetic forms and themes, and in prose of various kinds, European schemes, reaching a higher level only in the Enlightenment age. It was then that the philologist A. Bernolák, author of the first Slovak grammar (1790), supported the idea of an independent literary Slovak, while JI Bajza started the fiction and J. Chalupka, the only theatrical author with a certain talent, laid the foundations of a national repertoire. The Slovak poet J. Kollár and the philologist PJ Šafařík still wrote in Czech, but the Romantic age saw the rights of the Slovak language fully affirmed, which, used by L. Štúr and M. Hurban in the Nitra almanac (1844), was soon adopted in poetry, prose and theater. Poets were the lyricist A. Sládkovič, the restless J. Král ‘, the ballad author J. Botto and the romantic poet, singer of national heroism, S. Chalupka; mainly prose writers were J. Kalinčiak and S. Tomášik; theatrical works wrote J. Palárik. The younger romantics, who from 1860 had to fight against the danger of Magyarization, had their greatest exponents in the troubled V. Pauliny-Tóth and the tormented J. Záborský, authors of verses, prose and plays. The use of realistic techniques characterized the work of the generation of the last twenty years of the century. XIX, in which SM Hurban Vajanský excelled, more valid as a prose writer than a poet, Hviezdolav, considered by many to be the greatest Slovak poet, the novelist M. Kukučín, profound connoisseur of different social and national environments, J. Tajovský, acute observer of life rural, both in theatrical and narrative works, and, later,, founder of the Slovak historical novel.
According to ehistorylib, in the twentieth century a renewal of Slovak letters was determined by the modernist poetic current, of which I. Krasko and the sarcastic J. Jesenský were proponents; the poet V. Roy and the poet and writer M. Rázus joined their wake. Among the writers are T. Vansová and Timrava (B. Slančíková). In the fervor of cultural and literary activities that followed the birth of Czechoslovakia after the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the realistic tradition of Kukučín was collected and developed by various prose writers, including JC Hronský, while poetry was cultivated by Š. Krčméry, by EB Lukáč, V. Beniak and above all by J. Smrek, who found a congenial poetic language in vitalistic sensualism. Among the younger ones, there was a fairly clear division into two main currents. The magazine Vatra (Fire), published from 1919 to 1925, became the organ of a group of Catholic writers, who strove to differentiate themselves from the Bohemian cultural world, even going so far as to enunciate separatist theories. In this group, which had its poets in A. Žarnov and A. Nacin-Borin, fruitful narrators such as M. Urban, J. Nižnánsky and J. Hrušovský emerged. In 1919 the periodical Mladé Slovensko was also founded (The young Slovakia), around which a group of writers moved with the intention of broadening the cultural horizons of Slovak literature. A group of fierce Communist-oriented critics and writers later broke off from the group and founded a new magazine, Dav (The Crowd), which was attentive to social problems. Among the greatest exponents of the Mladé Slovensko group was the narrator and playwright G. Vámoš; the poets J. Poničan (also author of dramas), L. Novomeský and F. Král ‘ and the prose writer P. Jilemnický later joined the ranks of the “davists”.
Author of pungent satirical comedies was I. Stodola. Between 1930 and the Second World War, many new poets appeared in the Slovak literary limelight: among them J. Kostra, A. Plávka, P. Horov and the surrealists R. Fábry, V. Reisel and J. Brezina. After the Second World War, characterized by new themes and currents, inspired by the events of the recent past and by the current political and social reality of the Czechoslovak Republic, poets such as Š. Žáry, V. Mihálik, M. Rúfus and M. Válek, who have renewed the technical apparatus of poetry and modernly posed the question of the relationship between private and public spheres in human life. Alongside them, there are more young poets, such as J. Mihálkovič, M. Kovačik, L. Feldek and S. Šimonovič. In fiction, socialist realism (which had the greatest exponent in F. Hečko) is accompanied, especially since the 1960s, by a more critical attitude towards reality: we quote L. Mňačko, A. Bednár, D. Tatarka, K. Lazarová, A. Hykisch, V. Handzová, V. Šikula and L. Ťažký (some forced into silence during normalization). Among the latest recruits are R. Sloboda (1938-1995), who in his works with a strong autobiographical imprint has faced the loneliness of the individual struggling with modern society, D. Mitana (b.1946), whose writings, also translated into Italian, they take their cue from everyday issues to embrace even very deep problems relating to the human condition and P. Vilikovsky (b. 1941), heir to the Central European tradition and one of the most important post-Communist writers.