Josef Svatopluk Machar

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Machar, Josef Svatopluk


Born Feb. 29, 1864, in Kolin; died Mar. 17, 1942, in Prague. Czech poet.

Machar was the son of a mill hand. He attended secondary schools in Prague between 1878 and 1886. From 1889 to 1919 he was a clerk in Vienna. From 1919 to 1924 he was an inspector-general in the Czechoslovak Army. Machar’s work from the turn of the century expressed the disillusionment of individualistic intellectuals with Czech and European reality; at a time when Czech art was under the influence of symbolism, Machar represented the realist movement and helped bring poetry closer to life. The poet exposed the monarchist feudal state with irony and sarcasm and criticized hypocritical bourgeois morality in the collections Confiteor 1-3 (1887-92) and Here Should Roses Bloom (1894), the verse novel Magdalen (1894), and collections of political verse such as Tristium Vindobona 1-20 (1893), Golgotha (1901), Satiricon (1904), and Topical Comments (1935). Believing that the Christian epoch marked a decline in human culture, Machar turned to antiquity in his search for an ideal. Examples include the cycle of poems The Conscience of the Ages (parts 1-9, 1906-26). He also wrote the reminiscences The Confessions of a Literary Man (1902) and anticlerical publicistic works, including Rome (1907) and Antiquity and Christianity (1919). In the works written during the years of the bourgeois republic, Machar abandoned progressive literary traditions in many respects.


Básné. Prague, 1954.


Pesat, Z. J S. Machar bdsnik. Prague, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.