Vladislav Vancura

Vančura, Vladislav


Born June 26, 1891, in Háj near Opava; died June 1, 1942, in Prague. Czech writer. Physician by profession. Member of the revolutionary group of writers known as Devětsil (The Force of Nine).

As an artist Vančura tried to reveal the social and philosophical meaning of reality; in doing this he sought new figurative methods. His creative manner is characterized by laconism, emotional saturation, and a metaphorical quality. Vancčra’s most famous novel is The Baker Jan Marhoul (1924), which describes the process by which small-scale property owners are ruined under capitalism. Jan, a bighearted man, inevitably perishes in a world of bourgeois egoism.

The satirical novel Farm Fields and Battlefields (1925) sounded a protest against imperialistic wars; the quality of doom inherent in the capitalist world is presented in satirically sharpened grotesque images. Vancura’s novels Marketa Lazarova ( 1931) and Flight to Budina (1932) and his collection of stories Queen Dorotka’s Bow (1932) center around the theme of tragic love. The novels Three Rivers (1936) and The Horvath Family (1938) reproduce scenes from the life of the people during World War I. Bold innovation marked the dramas written by Vancura: The Alchemist (1932), which was constructed on the sharp clash of characters and their world views, and Lake Ukerev (1935), which was directed against racist ideology. In his three-volume fictional chronicle Scenes From the History of the Czech People (1939-40), Vančura attained an epic breadth, a monumental quality, and clarity of language. Vancura was one of the founders of Czech socialist literature. He also worked as a screenwriter and director on the films Before the Final Examination, The Sunny Side, Mariika the Traitress (with I. Olbracht), and others.

Vančura was the organizer and first president of the Czechoslovak Film Society. He took an active part in the antifascist movement and was shot by the Hitlerites because of his participation in the Resistance Movement. Vancura was posthumously awarded the title of People’s Artist of Czechoslovakia (1946).


Spisy, vols. 1-15. Prague, 1951-59.
In Russian translation:
Pekar’ lan Margoul. Moscow, 1964.
Kubula i Kuba Kubikula. Moscow, 1965.


Mukařovský, J. O Vladislavu Vančurovi. Libáň, 1945.
Kundera, M. Umění románu. Prague, 1960.
Vančurová, L. Dvacet šest krásnýh let. Prague, 1967.


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