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Jaroslav Seifert
(1901-1986)

Photo of Jaroslav SeifertThe Czech writer Jaroslav Seifert was born on 23rd September 1901 in Prag.
He worked as a journalist till 1950, after that he became a freelance writer with special liking for poetry. His debut (City in tears) he celebrated in 1920; besides he belonged to the avant-garde group Devetsil.

During a journey abrod he got in touch with French Modernists and Dadaists. After his return he became a member of the "Poetists". A visit in the Sovjet Union in 1925 made him more critical towards the revolution and was the reason for his breaking-off with the communistic party. Instead of this he became a member of the social-democratic party, a step which was reproached him later.

In the volumes "Kablko s klina" 1933, "Ruce Venusiny" 1936 and "Jarosbohem" 1937 he expounded a kind of writing in shape of a classical words of the everyday life, which is described as the heyday of Czeck poetry.

In the late 30's, in a time of threat and the following occupation of Czechoslovakia through the Germans, Seifert discovered patriotically topics for his poetries. With his volumes "Svetlem odena" 1940 and "Kamenny most" 1944 he delivered socalled resistance poetry with the aim to strenghten the national self-confidence.

handwritten letter of Jaroslav SeifertThe communistic takeover of his country constituted a big disappointment for Seifert. He wrote "Pisen o Viktorce" 1950, in which he accused the state to have betrayed his people. This book led to Seifert's political undisputed poetries which still had great success. To these works also belong "Mozart v Praze" 1951, "Maminka" 1954 and "Chlapec a hvezdy" 1956.

An address at the Czech writer congress in 1956 where he criticized the politic of earlier years and a long illness led to a discontinuance of new publications of Seifert. Jaroslav Seifert was awarded with the title of a national artist when the political atmosphere changed. In the following years he published three new volumes: "Koncert na ostrove" 1965, "Halleyova kometa" 1967 and "Odlevani zvona" 1967. These works represented a new trend in his work and led to a giving-up of the orderly verse shape.

Seifert spoke up for the rehabilitation of persecuted writers during the Prager Frühling in 1968. He condemned the Russian invasion and he belonged to the one who signed the "Charta 77". In 1969 he was elected as President of the Czeck writer association but was removed from the Husak regime .
Since 1979 his works were published again.

His big part in the Czeck world of literature was rewarded with the Nobel Prize in 1984.
Jaroslav Seifert died in 1986.
 

Summary of his works:

MESTO V SLZÁCH (1920) REVOLUCNÍ SBORNÍK DEVETSIL(1922) SAMÁ LÁSKA(1923) NA VINÁCH T.S.F (1925) SVATEBNÍ CESTA (1925) SLAVÍK ZPÍVA SHPATNE(1926) HVEZDY NAD RAJSKOU ZAHRADOU (1929) OSM DNÍ (1937) BASNÍKU KARLU TOMANOVI (1937) ZHASNETE SVETLA (1938) SVATEBNÍ CESTA (1938) VEJIR BOZENY NEMCOVÉ (1940) KAMENNÝ MOST (1944) PRILBA HLÍNY (1945) RUKA A PLANEM (1948) S OBLÁCKY HROZNU (1949) ROMANCE O MLÁDÍ A O VÍNE (1954) MAMINKA (1955) KOULELO SE, KOULELO (1955) CHLAPEC A HVZDY (1956) PRSTEN TREBONSKÉ MADONE (1966) ZPEVY O PRAZE (1968) DESTNÍK Z PICCADILLY (1979) MOROVÝ SLOUP (1981) VSECKY KRÁSY SVETA (1981)