Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Praguers pay homage to writer Karel Čapek

ČTK |
27 December 2010

Prague, Dec 25 (CTK) - Some 200 people Saturday attended a ceremony paying homage to Karel Capek, one of the most influential Czech democratic writers, playwrights and journalists of the 20th century.

Excerpts from Capek's work were read at his grave and a speech was delivered by critic and journalist Jan Rejzek.

"I envy every young boy or girl who are only ahead of a tremendous adventure when they start discovering Capek's world. I believe even at the time of iPods, MP3s and plasma screens they will succumb to his charm," Rejzek said.

The participants then heard a column called Politics, published in the book Criticism of Words.

"Either you yourself are involved in politics and then you are bored. You may escape politics, then you are coward or indifferent. If you pursue real politics, you are called partisan, if you pursue ideal politics, you are ridiculous. On top of that, in each of the cases you threaten the nation in one or another way. Please, make your choice," Capek wrote in his satirical column.

The meeting at Capek's grave has become a tradition in Prague.

The Capek Brothers Society that organises the event has existed since 1947. It wants to disseminate the spiritual appeal of Karel and Josef Capeks.

Though a writer of novels, travel books, stories, and essays, Capek (1890-1939) is best known for his plays. His Insect Play took the world by storm and was performed to great acclaim in London and New York.

R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), which introduced the word robot into the English language, conceives a future in which all workers will be automated.

His last plays, written just before Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia, warn of the rise of dictatorship and terrible consequences of war.

Capek died on Christmas Day, 1938.

Josef Capek won a considerable reputation as a painter of the Cubist school. Following Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939 he was sent to a German concentration camp where he died in April 1945.

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