Jaroslav Vrchlický (Czech pronunciation: [ˈjaroslav ˈvr̩xlɪtskiː]; 17 February 1853 – 9 September 1912) was one of the greatest Czech lyrical poets. He was nominated for the Nobel prize in literature eight times.
Portrait of Jaroslav Vrchlický by Jan Vilímek
|Born||Emil Bohuslav Frída|
17 February 1853
Louny, Austrian Empire
|Died||9 September 1912 (aged 59)|
|Relatives||Bedřich Frida (brother)|
He was born Emilius Jakob Frida in Louny. He lived ten years with his uncle, a pastor near Kolín. Here he attended the first years of primary school from 1857 to 1861), and the briefly in Kolín from 1861 to 1862. He studied at a grammar school in Slaný from 1862, where he was a classmate of Václav Beneš Třebízský, also in Prague and in 1872 graduated from Klatovy.
Guided by his uncle's example, Vrchlický joined after graduating from the Prague Archbishop's seminary. But in 1873, he transferred to the Faculty of Arts of Charles-Ferdinand University in Prague, where he studied history, philosophy and Romance philology. During his studies he studied with historian Ernest Denis. His first literary work was printed by editor Sofie Podlipská.
From 1875, he worked as a secretary and tutor to the sons of noble family Montecuccoli-Laderchi, first in Merano near Modena, and later Livorno. After returning briefly he worked at the pedagogical institute in Prague in Manor Street. Through the intercession of Leopold, Count von Thun und Hohenstein, in 1877 he was appointed secretary of the Prague Czech Polytechnic, and later became a professor of modern science and was awarded an honorary doctorate.
In 1901 he, along with Antonin Dvorak, was knighted, and Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I. appointed him a member of the Upper House of the Imperial Council in Vienna. Vrchlický defended the requirement of universal suffrage. He was a member of the Royal Academy of Padua, a member of the Polish Society of Paris and also an honorary citizen of many Czech towns. In 1893 he was appointed professor of European literature at Charles University. He was also a member of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts (appointed by the Emperor 20 April 1890).
He also wrote epic poetry, plays, prose and literary essays and translated widely from various languages, introducing e.g. Dante, Goethe, Shelley, Baudelaire, Poe, and Whitman to Czech literature. He was one of the main voices in Lumír magazine from 1851.
Vrchlický's life was the subject of a 1997 novel, Za trochu lásky....
Vrchlický's work contains about 270 volumes, including over 80 poetry collections and 50 plays. His poetry collections and dramas are a prime example of formal perfection, yet quite readable. Vrchlický tried to prove that Czech is a language that can express everything.