Jan Neruda (7 July, 1834 – 22 August, 1891) is a Czech poet, considered to be an outstanding 19th Century figure in literature. He is known for his sardonic tales, poems, and short stories.
Fun Facts about Jan Neruda:
- Jan Nepomuk Neruda was born in Prague. His father was a grocer, and his mother was a housekeeper. His father, an ex-solider, was awarded a position of a porter to various barracks for helping “ to defeat Napoleon at Leipzing and occupy France as far as Lyon.”
- The future poet was educated in Prague’s German schools, but also knew Czech. His father wanted him to become a lawyer, but after an honest try, Mr. Neruda changed his major to Philosophy. However, he never graduated.
- After attempting to become a teacher, Jan Neruda found his place as a journalist for a German newspaper. Later, due to national revivals, he started writing for the Czech speaking public in Czech newspapers.
- Eventually Mr. Neruda was a leader for a generation of writers supporting the Czech National Revival and Czech Nationalism.
- At some point in 1871, Mr. Neruda was labeled as a “traitor” and decided it would be wise to get away for a bit. He took the time to visit Greece, Italy, Germany, Hungary, France, and Egypt keeping detailed records of his travels.
- The rise of the National Movement gave way to the rise of antisemitism. In an 1870 pamphlet Jan Neruda’s anti-Semitic views went far beyond the discourse at the time.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. He started his notorious pamphlet with a version of: “some of my best friends are Jews”.
- The poet was never married, even though he thoroughly enjoyed the company of women. He wrote many poems to his first love, Anna Holinová. His second love, fellow writer Karolína Světlá, supported him emotionally and financially.
That was until her husband found out about their relationship.
- Světlá’s husband, Petr Mužák forced Mr. Neruda to give him all the correspondence he had with his wife. The letters were the sources of a movie called The Story of Love and Honor (Příběh lásky a cti).
- Along with poems and stories, Jan Neruda also wrote weekly column, wrote literary criticisms, and edited scientific journals.
- After his death, the Prague street, in a section called Malá Strana (Little Quarter), where he grew up was named after him.
Zohar – Man of la Book
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