Karel Hynek Mácha

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Karel Hynek Mácha (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarɛl ˈɦɪnɛk ˈmaːxa] ) (16 November 1810 – 5 November 1836) was a Czech romantic poet.


Karel Hynek Mácha
Jan Vilimek - Karel Hynek Macha.jpg
Karel Hynek Mácha
Born(1810-11-16)16 November 1810
Prague, Austrian Empire (now Czech Republic)
Died5 November 1836(1836-11-05) (aged 25)
Litoměřice, Austrian Empire (now Czech Republic)
Resting place Vyšehrad, Prague
Language Czech
Nationality Czech
Education Prague University
Literary movementDe Barries
Notable works"Máj"
Partner Eleonora Šomková
ChildrenLudvík Šomek


Mácha grew up in Prague, the son of a foreman at a mill. He learned Latin and German in school. He went on to study law at Prague University; during that time he also became involved in theatre (as an actor he first appeared in Jan Nepomuk Štěpánek's play Czech and German in July 1832 in Benešov [1] ), where he met Eleonora Šomková, with whom he had a son out of wedlock. He was fond of travel, enjoying trips into the mountains, and was an avid walker. Eventually he moved to Litoměřice, a quiet town some 60 km from Prague, to prepare for law school exams and to write poetry. Three days before he was to be married to Šomková, just a few weeks after he had begun working as a legal assistant, Mácha overexerted himself while helping to extinguish a fire and soon thereafter died of pneumonia. [2] The day after his death had been scheduled as his wedding day in Prague.

Mácha was buried in Litoměřice in a pauper's grave. Recognition came after his death: in 1939, his remains were exhumed, and they were given a formal state burial at the Vyšehrad cemetery in Prague. A statue was erected in his honor in Petřín Park, Prague. [2] In 1937 a biographical film, Karel Hynek Mácha, was made by Zet Molas (a pen name of Zdena Smolová). Lake Mácha (Czech : Máchovo jezero) was named after him in 1961.

Macha was honored on a 50 Haleru and a 1 Koruna stamp on 30 April 1936, Scott Catalog # 213-214. The stamp depicts a statue of Macha that is found in Prague and was issued by the postal agency of Czechoslovakia ('Československo'). He was again honored on a 43 koruna postage stamp issued by the postal agency of the Czech Republic ('Česká Pošta') on 10 March 2010. This 43 koruna postage stamp is presented on a miniature souvenir sheet. The Scott catalog number for this postage stamp honoring Macha is Scott #3446.

Karel Mácha was appointed patron saint of the youth collective "De Barries" in 2019.


Statue of Karel Hynek Macha in Petrin Park, Prague Karel Hynek Macha statue.jpeg
Statue of Karel Hynek Mácha in Petřín Park, Prague

His lyrical epic poem "Máj" (May), published in 1836 shortly before his death, was judged by his contemporaries as confusing, too individualistic, and not in harmony with the national ideas. [2] Czech playwright Josef Kajetán Tyl even wrote a parody of Mácha's style, "Rozervanec" (The Chaotic). "Máj" was rejected by publishers, and was published by a vanity press at Mácha's own expense, not long before his early death. Josef Bohuslav Foerster set May for choir and orchestra as his Op.159.

Mácha's genius was discovered and glorified much later by the poets and novelists of the 1850s (e.g., Jan Neruda, Vítězslav Hálek, and Karolina Světlá) and "Máj" is now regarded as the classic work of Czech Romanticism and is considered one of the best Czech poems ever written. [3] It contains forebodings of many of the tendencies of 20th-century literature: existentialism, alienation, isolation, surrealism, and so on.

Mácha also authored a collection of autobiographical sketches titled Pictures From My Life, the 1835–36 novel Cikáni (Gypsies) [4] , and several individual poems, as well as a journal in which, among other things, he detailed his sexual encounters with Šomková. [2] The Diary of Travel to Italy describes his journey to Venice, Trieste, and Ljubljana (where he met the Slovene national poet France Prešeren) in 1834. The Secret Diary describes his daily life in autumn 1835 with cipher passages concerning his relationship with Eleonora Šomková. [5]

Related Research Articles

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1836.

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Established in 1869 on the grounds of Vyšehrad Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, the Vyšehrad cemetery is the final resting place of many composers, artists, sculptors, writers, and those from the world of science and politics. The centerpiece of the cemetery is the Slavín tomb designed by Antonín Wiehl, a large and notable tomb located within Vyšehrad cemetery.

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Litoměřice is a town at the junction of the rivers Elbe and Ohře in the northern part of the Czech Republic, approximately 64 km (40 mi) northwest of Prague.

<i>Máj</i> poem by Karel Hynek Mácha

Máj is a romantic poem by Karel Hynek Mácha in four cantos. It was fiercely criticized when first published, but since then has gained the status of one of the most prominent works of Czech literature; in the Czech Republic, the poem is usually on must-read list for students and is said to be one of the most often published original czech books with over 250 editions.

Konstantin Biebl Czech poet

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Kytice z pověstí národních, also known by the short title Kytice, is a collection of ballads by the Czech author Karel Jaromír Erben. The collection was first published in 1853 and was originally made up of 12 poems. Lilie was added to the second edition in 1861.

  1. Kytice
  2. Poklad (Treasure)
  3. Svatební košile
  4. Polednice
  5. Zlatý kolovrat
  6. Štědrý den
  7. Holoubek
  8. Záhořovo lože
  9. Vodník
  10. Vrba (Willow)
  11. Lilie (Lily)
  12. Dceřina kletba
  13. Věštkyně (Seeress)

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.

Karel Sabina Czech poet, theater reviewer, playwright, essayist, philosopher, librettist, literature historian, literary critic, publicist, translator, bookwriter and writer

Karel Sabina was a Czech writer and journalist.

The Májovci were a significant group of Czech novelists and poets of the second half of the 19th century, who were inspired by the work of Karel Hynek Mácha, Karel Havlíček Borovský and Karel Jaromír Erben.

Cikáni is an 1835 novel written by Czech poet Karel Hynek Mácha with typical tokens of Romanticism: old castles, night scenery and a romantic complicated plot. It is Mácha's only completed novel.

Eleonora Šomková Czech poet

Eleonora Šomková was the fiancée of Karel Hynek Mácha. The poet died two days before their intended wedding. Intimate details of their relationship were revealed by deciphering Mácha's Diary of 1835.

The Diary was written in 1835 by Karel Hynek Mácha, the best-known Czech romantic poet. After deciphering of the parts recorded in code, there was a discussion of the decision to publish the author's private affairs.

Diary of Journey to Italy is a travel book by Czech poet Karel Hynek Mácha, which was likely not meant to be published.

Máj (literary almanac)

Máj was a Czech literary almanac published by a group of authors centred around Jan Neruda and Vítězslav Hálek.

Josef Matěj Navrátil Czech painter

Josef Matěj Navrátil was a Czech painter.

Václav Bolemír Nebeský Czech poet and translator

Václav Bolemír Nebeský was a Czech poet active during Czech national revival.

<i>Mág</i> (film) 1988 film directed by František Vláčil

Mág (Magician) is a 1988 Czech film directed by František Vláčil. The film is about Czech poet Karel Hynek Mácha. It is Vláčil's last film. The film received mixed reviews and critics called it a reflection of Vláčil's previous work.


  1. Albert Pražák: Karel Hynek Mácha, Prague 1936, p.21
  2. 1 2 3 4 Marcela Sulak, "Introduction," in Mácha, Karel Hynek (2005). May. Marcela Sulak (trans.). Prague: Twisted Spoon Press. pp. 7–18. ISBN   80-86264-22-X.
  3. "Karel Hynek Mácha". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  4. Although the text of the novel Cikáni has been usually attributed to K.H. Mácha, there is a widespread hypothesis that its final shape was substantially influenced by his friend K. Sabina. See: Zenkov A.V., Mistecky M. The Romantic Clash: Influence of Karel Sabina over Macha’s Cikani from the Perspective of the Numerals Usage Statistics, Glottometrics. 2019, Vol. 46, p. 12–28. https://www.ram-verlag.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/g46zeit.pdf
  5. Karel Hynek Mácha: Deníky. Zápisníky. Korespondence. Prague 1929