Neruda, Jan(yän nĕ`ro͝odä), 1834–91, Czech essayist and poet, b. Prague. His popular Stories from Malá Strana (1878), tales drawn from his childhood in Prague and satiric portraits of members of the Czech middle classes, exemplifies early Czech realism. Neruda's poetry in its simplicity and lyricism has been compared to the work of Heinrich Heine. His best-known poems are contained in Ballads and Romances and Plain Themes (both: 1883). His mature verse expresses his resignation to unhappiness.
Born July 9, 1834, in Prague; died there Aug. 22, 1891. Czech writer. Studied law and philosophy at the University of Prague from 1853. Editor of a number of literary journals.
Neruda’s civic-minded, philosophical, and highly personal poems are marked by a sense of the inseparability of the fate of the poet and his homeland and by a natural simplicity, as can be seen in his collections, including Books of Poetry (1868), Cosmic Songs (1878), and Good Friday Songs (published 1896). Neruda showed himself to be an outstanding master of prose writing in the collections Arabesques (1864), Different People (1871), and Tales of the Little Quarter (1878), in which he ridiculed philistinism and expressed a profound sympathy for the “little people.” His prose style closely resembles that of Gogol and Dickens. The life of seasonal construction workers is depicted in Neruda’s novella The Vagabonds (1872). His democratic views on social questions were voiced in his literary criticism, as well as in numerous essays, articles, and feuilletons on Bohemia’s cultural and social life from the 1850’s to the 1880’s; these works, like his fiction works, greatly influenced the development of Czech realism.
WORKSSebrané spisy, vols. 1–41—. Prague, 1950–73—.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1959.
REFERENCESSolov’eva, A. P. Ian Neruda i utverzhdenie realizma v cheshskoi literature. Moscow, 1973.
Novotný, J. Život J. Nerudy, vols. 1–4. Prague, 1951–56.
Budin, S. Jan Neruda a jeho doba. Prague, 1960.
Králik, O. KřiŽovatky Nerudovy poesie. Prague, 1965.
Haman, A. Neruda prozaik. Prague, 1968.
A. P. SOLOV’EVA