Zdenek Nejedlý

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nejedlý, Zdeněk


Born Feb. 10, 1878, in Litomysl; died Mar. 9, 1962, in Prague. Czechoslovak scholar and public figure, musicologist, historian, and literary critic. Member of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts (1907); founder and president (from 1952) of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1929.

Nejedlý was the son of the composer and educator R. Nejedly. He graduated from the department of philosophy at Charles University in Prague. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1900. Nejedlý was a professor at Charles University from 1909 to 1939 and 1945 to 1962 and at Moscow University from 1939 to 1945. He was a member of numerous learned institutions abroad, including corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1947).

Nejedlý was one of the first scholars in the West to welcome the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. From 1921 to 1930 he edited the journal Var (Ferment). He was a founder (1925) and the chairman of the Society for Cultural and Economic Rapprochement With the New Russia and one of the leaders of the League of Friends of the USSR (founded 1930). He traveled to the USSR many times. He aided in the founding (1935) of the Czechoslovak Action Committee to Strengthen Peace. He was chairman of the Committee of Friends of Republican Spain (he visited Spain in 1936 with a delegation of Czechoslovak cultural representatives). From 1939 to 1945, during the German fascist occupation of Czechoslovakia, Nejedlý lived in the USSR.

In the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Nejedly was minister of schools and public education in 1945–46, minister of labor and social security from 1946 to 1948, and minister of schools, sciences, and arts from February 1948 until January 1953. From January to September 1953 he was deputy prime minister and in September 1953 he became a minister without portfolio. He served as a deputy to the National Congress in 1945 and a member of the Central Committee and Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1946. In 1945 he became chairman of the Union for Czechoslovak-Soviet Friendship, chairman of the Slavic Committee, and a member of the Czechoslovak Committee for the Defense of Peace.

Nejedlý’s scholarly interests were chiefly concerned with the cultural, ancient, medieval, and modern history of Czechoslovakia. He was especially interested in two periods of Czech history: the Hussite revolutionary movement of the 15th century, in which he saw not only a religious and national movement but, more significantly, a large-scale social struggle, and the Czech national renaissance that began in the late 18th century and lasted through the middle of the 19th. Nejedly’s History of the Czech People (vol. 1; Russian translation, 1952) was awarded the State Prize of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Nejedlý also wrote Lenin (vols. 1–2, 1937–38) and A History of the Soviet Union (1948).

Nejedlý was one of the founders of the Czechoslovak democratic school of musicology. He studied the works of the composer B. Smetana (the major monograph Bedřich Smetana, vols. 1–4, 1924–33), the history of Czech Hussite songs (A History of the Hussite Song, three books, 1904, 1907, 1913), opera, and the national theater. Nejedlý wrote works on the history of world music, including Soviet Music (1936), and articles on contemporary Czechoslovak composers.

In his works on literary criticism, including Communists— Heirs to the Great Traditions of the Czech People (1936), On True Realism and Pseudorealism (1948), and On the Tasks of Our Literature (1949), Nejedly investigated the democratic and realistic traditions of Czech literature. He wrote a number of studies demonstrating the social significance of the works of A. Jirásek and also wrote a monograph about B. Némcová (1927). He published articles on Russian classical writers in Czechoslovakia as well as articles on Czech literature in the USSR.

Nejedlý, along with Soviet scholars, trained Slavicists and laid the foundations of Marxist Slavic studies.

Nejedlý was awarded two Orders of Lenin, three Orders of Klement Gottwald, the Order of the Republic, and the Bulgarian Order of Georgii Dimitrov.


Sebrané spisy, vols. 1–17, 19–31, 35–51. Prague, 1948–56.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. trudy. Leningrad-Moscow, 1960.
Stat’i ob iskusstve. Leningrad-Moscow, 1960.


Zdenek Needly—vydaiushchiisia obshchestvennyi deiatel’i uchenyi. Moscow, 1964. (Collection of articles.)
Cervinka, F. Zdenék Nejedlý. Prague, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Pierre argues that Zdenek Nejedly self-identified with Smetana, thus blurring the lines between scholar and object of study (p.
This was a consequence of the aforementioned circumstances, as well as the sheer servility of the young cadres, whose "radicalism" actually manifested itself more in music critique than their own work, against the government in which the post of Minister of Culture was held by the two generations older historian and musicologist Zdenek Nejedly, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, a relentless promoter of Bedrich Smetana and castigator of Antonin Dvorak and Leos Janacek, or the leadership of the Union of Czechoslovak Composers, helmed too by figures who had joined the Communist Party back during the period of the inter-war republic.
Notorious party ideologists, such as Zdenek Nejedly and Ladislav Stoll, took a total control of what was then acceptable literature.
While Zdenek Nejedly and the Rudolfinum (Prague concert hall) are still more or less recognizable, it takes more effort to identify the frequently-invoked Hungarian conductor "Eugene Sengar" [sic] (first mentioned on p.
Placing Helfert's brilliant, yet hitherto unknown to the world, Don Juan study in the forefront of the book is deemed by Volek as a proclamation manifesting his great scholarly and civil model, a personality whom he has admired since his student years, when both in his country and the research discipline at large the totalitarian regime asserted the ideologically deformed conception of Zdenek Nejedly, which in many respects totally contradicted Helfert's conception.
During the Communist era, it was named after the Minister of Culture, arbiter, or rather censor, of the official taste in the area of "high art", Zdenek Nejedly. By the way, there were quite a few theatres bearing his name in totalitarian Czechoslovakia.
(1.) Zdenek Nejedly (1878-1962), a prominent Czech musicologist and polemical (at times dogmatic) music journalist and critic, an opponent of Leos Janacek, later on, a notorious minister during the Communist regime.
This situation has given rise to the idea that Fibich was out of synch with his time; some have shifted him back to the past (the musicologist Vladimir Helfert), some to the future (the school around he music historian Zdenek Nejedly).
The fourth section--In the mists--consists of the chapters 1903 (March-December); Spas, especially Luhacovice; Louise and the hidden agenda; 1904; The missing link: Jenufa in 1904; Betes noires I: Karel Kovacovic; Janacek at fifty; 1905; Music as autobiography II; 1906; The Bezruc choruses; 1907; 1908; Betes noires II: Zdenek Nejedly; 1909; Pan-Slavism III; 1910; Janacek's knowledge of opera II (1890-1914); 1911; 1912; Janacek's illnesses I (by Stephen Lock); 1913;1914 a)January 28.
Let us therefore attempt to view the controversy from a musicological standpoint, even though one cannot tackle fully either the personality of the main protagonist of those polemics, Zdenek Nejedly (1878-1962), Professor of Musicology at Charles University in Prague or that entire period of controversy solely from the viewpoint of a single field of study.
It is also fashionable to refer wittily to the basic aversion to the work expressed by Zdenek Nejedly, as formulated in his book Czech Modern Opera since Smetana (J.Otto, Praha 1911).
Zdenek Nejedly, from 1905 the first professor of musicology at Charles University in Prague, was his pupil, and as an influential music critic in the first four decades he very much over-rated Fibich, placing him on a level with Bedrich Smetana and even above Antonin Dvorak.