Vítézslav Nezval

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Nezval, Vítézslav

 

Born May 26, 1900, in Biskoupky, Moravia; died Apr. 1, 1958, in Prague. Czech poet. National artist of Czechoslovakia (1953). Member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1924.

Nezval was the son of a village schoolteacher. From 1919 to 1922 he studied law and philosophy at the universities of Brno and Prague, His creative work of the 1920’s and 1930’s was marked by a quest for new poetical forms and by an interest in vigorously realistic art. In his poem The Amazing Magician (1922) and in his collections Pantomime (1924) and Little Garden of Roses (1926), Nezval combined revolutionary motifs with an interest in exotic subjects and everyday life. The inspired nature of creative work was celebrated in the narrative poems Edison (1928) and Signal of the Times (1931). In his collections Return Ticket (1933), Goodbye and a Handkerchief (1933), and Prague with Fingers of the Rain (1936), and in other works written in the 1930’s, Nezval glorified his native land, protested against the bourgeois system and the fascist threat, and expressed his hope for revolution.

During the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, Nezval published the collection of patriotic lyric poetry Five Minutes From the City (1939), the satirical narrative poem The Prussians (1939, published 1945), and the narrative poem Historical Canvas (1939, revised edition 1945). After 1945 he was active in public affairs—he was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Front—and cultural life of liberated Czechoslovakia. In his collections The Great Chimes (1949), Wings (1952), and Cornflowers and Cities (1955) and in the narrative poems Song of Peace (1950; Gold Medal of the World Peace Council, 1953), About My Native Land (1951), and the philosophical poem intended for the stage Today the Sun Still Sets Over Atlantis (1956), Nezval depicted the moral strength of the man of today and the struggle for peace and socialism.

Nezval was the author of memoirs (From My Life, 1957–58; unfinished), plays, and pantomimes. He translated works by A. Rimbaud, P. Eluard, H. Heine, and A. S. Pushkin. He was also a gifted composer and painter.

WORKS

Dilo, vols. 1–31. Prague, 1950–70.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1960.
Stikhi, Poemy. Moscow, 1972.

REFERENCES

Budagova, L. N. V. Nezval: Ocherk zhizni i tvorchestva. Moscow, 1967.
Sherlaimova, S. A. V. Nezval. Moscow, 1968.
Toksina, I. V. Vitezslav Nezval: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1967.
Taufer, J. Národní umélec V. Nezval. Prague, 1957.
Blahynka, M., and J. Neías. V. Nezval: Bibliogr. brozura. Prague, 1960.

L. N. BUDAGOVA

References in periodicals archive ?
One such is the modern poet Vitezslav Nezval, arguably the most gifted Czech poet of the twentieth century and yet, for much of his later career, a shameless apologist for Stalinism and an effusive panegyrist of Stalin himself.
Also worthy of mention are Cocktails (1927) composed by Emil Frantisek Burian on texts by the major Czech poet and founder of the Group of Surrealists in the Czechoslovak Republic, Vitezslav Nezval.
Gocar, the temperamental poet Vitezslav Nezval gave a speech of welcome.
Those who explicitly joined the group included the composers Jaroslav Jezek, Erwin Schulhoff, and Jaroslav Svoboda, the librettist and writer Jiri Maranek and the natural scientist and music journalist Ctibor Blattny, but its meetings were also attended by the poet Vitezslav Nezval, the director and translator Jindrich Honzl, the director and writer Jiri Frejka and others.
The poetics of jazz did not only attract the musicians among them, but was a source of inspiration for example for the literary theorist and artist Karel Teige (the spokesman of the Devetsil, who wrote a commentary in Burian's book Jazz) and the poets Jaroslav Seifert (the only Czech to have received a Nobel Prize for Literature) and Vitezslav Nezval.
In the 1920s Jezek also collaborated with the poet Vitezslav Nezval and the Devetsil Group of artists, one result being Jezek's stage music (1927) for Jean Cocteau's play The Eiffel Tower Wedding Party (by coincidence a piece of the same name had been jointly produced by members of the Six in 1919).
The musical chapter of the history of Manes opened on the 16th of December 1932 with an evening of music to verses by Vitezslav Nezval.
with the conductor Vaclav Talich, the composers Karel Boleslav Jirak and Alois Haba (see CM 3/2005), the poet Vitezslav Nezval and the artist Zdenek Pesanek).
Burian became involved through his friendship with the poet Vitezslav Nezval.
The leading figures in this purely Czech movement were the poet Vitezslav Nezval and the art theorist Karel Teige, Poetism, akin to the Paris avant garde, did not want to be a purely literary affair and sought to become "the art of life, the art of living and enjoying" (Teige).
Among other poets we find Bohdan Jelinek, Vitezslav Nezval, Frana Sramek or Viktor Kripner.
With this instrumentation, Kapralova creates melancholic atmosphere for surrealistic text by Vitezslav Nezval.