Victoria Shmidt

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The article embeds the three most popular fairy-tale films by Vaclav Vořlíček (Girl on a Broomstick, 1971; Three Wishes for Cinderella, 1973; How to Drown Dr. Mraček or the End of Water Spirits in Bohemia, 1975) in the socialist campaigns orchestrated by the Czechoslovak government in the late 1960s and early 1970s, whose goal was to introduce women to new practices directly relating to reproductive behavior. I explore this cohort of “crazy” comedies stemming from the story of domestication of women as a historical continuity in the development of the comic female Bildungsroman, one of the mainstream genres interrogating nation-building and popular culture in the Czech lands from the second third of the nineteenth century until today. The core frame of the Czech female Bildungsroman, namely the binary opposition of “us/them” related to the Czech-German relationship, ascribing to women the risk of Otherness, and the call for their Czechinization through intercourse with Czech men, are deconstructed through infiltration by eugenic motives disseminated in the public discourse concerning the nation’s health between the 1960s and 1970s.


: socialist public campaign, female Bildungsroman, nation-building, eugenics

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