Vítézslav Nezval

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nezval, Vítézslav


Born May 26, 1900, in Biskoupky, Moravia; died Apr. 1, 1958, in Prague. Czech poet. National artist of Czechoslovakia (1953). Member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1924.

Nezval was the son of a village schoolteacher. From 1919 to 1922 he studied law and philosophy at the universities of Brno and Prague, His creative work of the 1920’s and 1930’s was marked by a quest for new poetical forms and by an interest in vigorously realistic art. In his poem The Amazing Magician (1922) and in his collections Pantomime (1924) and Little Garden of Roses (1926), Nezval combined revolutionary motifs with an interest in exotic subjects and everyday life. The inspired nature of creative work was celebrated in the narrative poems Edison (1928) and Signal of the Times (1931). In his collections Return Ticket (1933), Goodbye and a Handkerchief (1933), and Prague with Fingers of the Rain (1936), and in other works written in the 1930’s, Nezval glorified his native land, protested against the bourgeois system and the fascist threat, and expressed his hope for revolution.

During the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, Nezval published the collection of patriotic lyric poetry Five Minutes From the City (1939), the satirical narrative poem The Prussians (1939, published 1945), and the narrative poem Historical Canvas (1939, revised edition 1945). After 1945 he was active in public affairs—he was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Front—and cultural life of liberated Czechoslovakia. In his collections The Great Chimes (1949), Wings (1952), and Cornflowers and Cities (1955) and in the narrative poems Song of Peace (1950; Gold Medal of the World Peace Council, 1953), About My Native Land (1951), and the philosophical poem intended for the stage Today the Sun Still Sets Over Atlantis (1956), Nezval depicted the moral strength of the man of today and the struggle for peace and socialism.

Nezval was the author of memoirs (From My Life, 1957–58; unfinished), plays, and pantomimes. He translated works by A. Rimbaud, P. Eluard, H. Heine, and A. S. Pushkin. He was also a gifted composer and painter.


Dilo, vols. 1–31. Prague, 1950–70.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1960.
Stikhi, Poemy. Moscow, 1972.


Budagova, L. N. V. Nezval: Ocherk zhizni i tvorchestva. Moscow, 1967.
Sherlaimova, S. A. V. Nezval. Moscow, 1968.
Toksina, I. V. Vitezslav Nezval: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1967.
Taufer, J. Národní umélec V. Nezval. Prague, 1957.
Blahynka, M., and J. Neías. V. Nezval: Bibliogr. brozura. Prague, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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One such is the modern poet Vitezslav Nezval, arguably the most gifted Czech poet of the twentieth century and yet, for much of his later career, a shameless apologist for Stalinism and an effusive panegyrist of Stalin himself.
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A fairy-tale atmosphere also pervades Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, based on Vitezslav Nezval's 1932 book, yet it blends with horror film elements, as well as erotic undertones.
Also worthy of mention are Cocktails (1927) composed by Emil Frantisek Burian on texts by the major Czech poet and founder of the Group of Surrealists in the Czechoslovak Republic, Vitezslav Nezval.
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