Karel Hynek Mácha  

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Karel Hynek Mácha (16 November 1810 – 5 November 1836) was a Czech romantic poet.


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 theater, where he met Eleonora Somkova, 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 Somkova, just a few weeks after he had begun working as a legal assistant, Mácha died after a short period of illness, due to pneumonia.

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. In 1937 a biographic film, Karel Hynek Mácha, was made by Zet Molas (a pen name of Zdena Smolová). Máchovo jezero (English Mácha's Lake) was named after him in 1961.


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. Czech playwright Josef Kajetán Tyl even wrote a parody on 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.

Mácha's genius was discovered and glorified much later by the poets and novelists of the 1850s generation (for example Jan Neruda, Vítězslav Hálek, 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.Template:Fact

He also authored a collection of autobiographical sketches titled Pictures From My Life, the 1835–36 novel Gypsies, as well as several individual poems, besides a journal in which, for instance, he detailed his sexual encounters with Somkova.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Karel Hynek Mácha" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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