Born Aug. 23, 1851, in Hronov; died Mar. 12, 1930, in Prague. Czech writer.
The son of an artisan, Jirásek graduated from the University of Prague. His literary career began in the 1870’s. Jirásek’s works are an artistic chronicle of the most important stages in the history of the Czech people. The ancient times are captured in Old Czech Tales (1894). The Hussite movement is depicted in the novels Between the Currents (1887–90) and The Hussite King (1916–20). Unlike bourgeois historiographers, who examined the Hussite movement only from the religious point of view, Jirásek showed it to be a profoundly popular antifeudal movement.
His novels Skaláci (1875) and Psohlavcy (1884) re-create the period of the loss of Czech national independence after the Battle of Bílá Hora (1620). Jirásek depicted the Czech national renaissance in a cycle of novels and long stories that included At the Duke’s Court (1877) and F. L. Věk (1888–1906). He also wrote plays.
The originality of Jirásek’s works lies in their gravitation toward the epic, revealing the collective psychology of the nation as the main hero of history. His works are also noteworthy for their exact period re-creations and for their clarity of social characterizations. His progressive artistic conception of history was, however, combined with narrow political views, which accounts for his negative attitude toward the proletarian revolution.
WORKSSoubor spisy: Odkaz národu, vols. 1–32. Prague, 1949–58.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–8. Introductory article by B. Shchupletsov. Moscow, 1955–58.
REFERENCESFuchik, Yu. “A. Irasek.” In his book Izbr. ocherkiistat’i. Moscow, 1950.
Filipchikova, R. “A. Irasek.” In Ocherki istorii cheshskoi literatury XIX-XX v. Moscow, 1963.
Al. Irasek: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Compiled by I.V. Toksina. Moscow, 1955.
Nejedlý, Zd. Čtyři studie o Al. Jiraskovi. Prague, 1949.
Janáčková, J. “Jiraskovo vypravěčství, jeho charakter a funkce.” Česká literatura, 1967, no. 4.
S. I. VOSTOKOVA