Jaroslav Vrchlický

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Vrchlický, Jaroslav


(pseudonym of Emil Frida). Born Feb. 17, 1853, in Louny; died Sept. 9, 1912, in Domaz-lice. Czech poet, playwright, and translator. Born into a merchant’s family.

Vrchlický graduated from the University of Prague and became a professor of literature there in 1893. Vrchlický began publishing his work in the early 1870’s. His poetry, linked to the traditions of the romantics, is also characterized by realistic traits. In his large cycle of poetic collections entitled The Epic of Mankind—Ancient Legends (1883), Fragments of an Epic (1886), New Fragments of an Epic (1894), Gods and Men (1899), and others—Vrchlicky encompassed the historical development of mankind. He wrote in praise of Spartacus; he also wrote about the Great French Revolution, the heroic past of the Czech people, and the characters of J. Hus, J. žiſka, and others. Vrchlický’s best work, the collection Rural Ballads (1885), is devoted to the liberation struggle of the Czech peasants during the 17th and 18th centuries. In his collections of lyric poems he sings of life, nature, and love. Vrchlicky’s translations into Czech include works by Dante, T. Tasso, L. Ariosto, G. Byron, F. Schiller, J. W. Goethe, A. Mickiewicz, and S. Petofi. His popular comedy A Night on Karlstejn (1885) deals with a subject from Czech history. Vrchlický enriched Czech poetry with new artistic forms and verse dimensions.


Básnické dilo, vols. 1-16. Prague, 1949-60.
Básně, parts 1-2. Prague, 1953.
In Russian translation: [“Stikhotvoreniia.”] In Antologiia cheshskoi poezii 19-20 vv ., vol. 2. Moscow, 1959.


Kishkin, L. S. “Ia. Vrkhlitskii.” In Ocherki istorii cheshskoi literatury XIX-XX vv . Moscow, 1963.


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The libretto of the opera The Tempest was written on the basis of Shakespeare's play by one of the most acclaimed and popular of Czech poets, Jaroslav Vrchlicky, precisely according to Fibich's ideas.
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