František Čelakovský

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František Ladislav Čelakovský
Jan Vilímek - František Ladislav Čelakovský.jpg
Portrait of František Ladislav Čelakovský by Jan Vilímek
Born (1799-03-07)7 March 1799
Strakonice, Austrian Empire
Died 5 August 1852(1852-08-05) (aged 53)
Prague, Austrian Empire
Resting place Olšany Cemetery
Pen name Marcian Hromotluk
Occupation Poet
Nationality Czech
Genre Sentimentalism
Notable works Ohlas písní ruských
Ohlas písní českých
Spouse Bohuslava Rajská
Children Ladislav Josef Čelakovský
Jaromír Čelakovský
Marie Čelakovská

František Ladislav Čelakovský (7 March 1799 in Strakonice – 5 August 1852 in Prague) was a Czech writer and translator.


Starting in 1812, he attended the secondary school in České Budějovice, then in Písek and finally studied philosophy in Prague. Due to financial difficulties, he had to go back to České Budějovice, but was soon excluded because of reading out works by Jan Hus. He then lived as a translator and educator. In 1830 he received an offer from Russia—to found and lead a Slavic library in Saint Petersburg along with Pavel Jozef Šafárik und Václav Hanka. However, Čelakovský soon received a pension from Prince Kinský. From 1833 onwards he was the editor of a newspaper in Prague, but was forced to leave it due to having published an article that criticized Russian Tsars. In 1838 he became librarian to the Kinský family. In 1841 he was appointed Professor of Slavonic Literature in Wrocław, and worked there until 1849, when he held the same position at the University of Prague.


He wrote several volumes of poetry, of which one of the best-known is Růže stolistá (The hundred-petalled rose).

Ohlasy písní ruských (Echoes of Russian songs) was inspired by Russian byliny. The hero is a rich, young and handsome man who rises above the masses by his bravery, and fights against evil in the name of the simple people. The story took place around the 15th century, when the Turks and Tartars attacked Russia.

Ohlasy písní českých (Echoes of Bohemian songs) was not about a heroic epic, but more about a satiric and lyrical love poem. Many of his books feature illustrations by Adolf Kašpar.

He published Bohemian, Moravian, and Slovak poetry, which he dedicated to Václav Hanka. At the same time, he also translated Russian, Serbian, and Lithuanian folk songs. Among his most famous translations are works from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Walter Scott, and Johann Gottfried Herder.

Čelakovský was one of the first literary critics who recognized the poetic gifts of the Slovene poet France Prešeren. His positive assessment of Prešeren's poetry played a very important part in the development of the poet's self-esteem.

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