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This Department was established 1st May 2010. Its members focus on research into Czech literature from the mid-18th century to the beginning of the 20th century in its Central European context. Within the Departmental research programme, they are involved in the publication of contemporary works, sources on Czech literature and culture and hard-to-find or hitherto unorganized major works from the history of the field (complete editions ofRukopis královédvorského a zelenohorského [the Dvůr Králové and Zelená Hora manuscripts] in the Česká knižnice series /2010/, O českou literaturu naukovou [On Czech Scientific Literature] /Academia, 2012/, M. Otruba: Hledání národní literatury[In Search of National Literature] 2012/); they arrange specialist lectures, interdisciplinary conferences and colloquia (e.g. they helped to organize the conferenceK. J. Erben and the role of memory institutions in times of historical changeto mark the bicentenary of the poet's birth /2011/, and they took part in the conference Jung Prag und die Frühlingsgeneration /2011/, a Plzeň symposium on 19th century issues /2013/). They are also involved in the Institute of Czech Literature seriesLiterature for Download(K. J. Erben 1811-2011 /2011/, Jaroslav Vrchlický 1853-1912-2012 /2012/ exhibitions).


Team projects

The second life of the manuscripts in 19th century Czech literature and culture

The objective of this project (a 2011 departmental task), which carried on from an edition of works for Česká knižnice, is to describe on the basis of individual surveys in an intertextual context the setting of the Dvůr Králové and Zelená Hora manuscripts within Czech National Revival literature and the subsequent reception of these works in 19th century Czech literature and culture. It also includes an analysis of attempts made to write a Czech epic, as well as the broader context behind the initial reception of the manuscripts and the permeation of their myth with other models of importance in the formation of 19th century Czech culture from the Central European perspective. The anticipated project output will be studies, interdisciplinary conferences and monographs with an annotated anthology of texts.

The project also included work on the publication of a set of studies with an anthology of texts entitled The Dvůr Králové and Zelená Hora Manuscripts and Czech Scholarship I (1817-1885), which presents the changes in the attitude of Czech society towards the manuscripts between 1817 and 1885 within the broader framework of contemporary manuscript reception. Both manuscripts are understood to be one of the most important European hoaxes in the style of the Songs of Ossian by James Macpherson. Above all, on the basis of primary texts this collection documents in detail and studies (under the prism of scholarly or scholarly-discourse-related reception) how the “ancient” manuscripts operated in the creation of the modern Czech nation during the 19th century.


Grant projects:

The autonomization of Czech art: how the process unfolded in the critical reception of 1860s-1880s literary, artistic and musical output (M. Hrdina, M. Fránek, M. Charypar, L. Futtera, E. Bendová, J. Kopecký, Czech Science Foundation 2020–2022)

The main aim of this research is to illustrate how the Czech artistic sphere became increasingly independent from the 1860s to the 1880s. This interdisciplinary-based project will follow the process in the critical reflections of contemporary Czech literature, art and music – not only in traditionally excerpted newspapers and journals, but also in neglected areas on the cultural periphery. The authors of this research will focus on the argument over the position of artists in society and identify the works that inspired the debates and helped to raise awareness of the autonomy of art. Findings from individual areas of criticism will be compared in the primary research output – a monograph mapping out the course of the Czech version of the negotiations over the freedom of artistic creativity. The project also includes an interdisciplinary colloquium, whose participants will examine the issue under review from a supranational perspective within the historical context of the emergence of modern schools of art.


The origins of modern-era literary criticism in the Czech lands 1770–1805 (D. Dobiáš, V. Petrbok, O. Podavka, V. Smyčka, Czech Science Foundation 2017–2019)

The project aims to examine in a collective monograph and four studies the supranational origins of modern-era literary criticism in the Czech lands between 1770 and 1805 as a key factor in the creation of Czech literature. The project places the crystallizing institution of literary criticism within the broader framework of internally disparate Enlightenment criticism, thus charting the canonization of Czech literature as polyvalent, conflictual process involving the new funcionalization of the Czech cultural heritage in the light of contemporary far-reaching changes in collective identities in Europe. The project is based on German-Czech studies, which highlighted, together with the relation of the period German- and Czech-language literature in the Czech lands, the importance of contemporary sociocultural processes for the future development of the Habsburg Empire and Europe. Therefore, it also presents the subject of Enlightenment era Czech criticism as a contribution to the ongoing discussion on the role of the Enlightenment in the intellectual history of Europe.


Hybrid Scholarly Edition of Karel Hynek Mácha´s Máj (M. Charypar, J. Flaišman, M. Kosák, P. Píša, Czech Science Foundation 2016–2019)

The objective is to create a new critical edition of Karel Hynek Mácha´s poem Máj, a key work in modern Czech literature, as part of the Hybrid Scholarly Edition series (i.e. a reader’s book edition + a scholarly electronic edition) and to improve the methodology for this series. This is based on examination of the history of the poem’s text, primarily the manuscript of Máj, which the last critical edition (in 1959) did not undertake, as it was based on an old facsimile. The manuscript needs to undergo paleographic analysis for the crossed-out text to be deciphered, for the origins and purpose of the text to be determined, and for editological relevance of the manuscript to be considered. Commentaries and separate studies will provide fresh information on the so-called Náčrt Máje (Draught of Máj), Mácha’s language, Prague publishing practice at that time and the editorial history of Mácha’s text, carrying on an interrupted research line that is of fundamental importance for the development of Czech textology. The electronic edition will include complete editorial documentation.


The Terminology of Literary Realism (M. Hrdina, Czech Science Foundation 2012–2014)

The objective of this project is to provide a coherent summary of the critical and literary studies discussion over realism in the Czech context. The project researcher deals with usage of the term “realism” in assessments of literature, particularly in the 19th century, as well as the terminology options for realist trends in the literary studies works of various methodological schools, and in conclusion he endeavours to distinguish and describe basic types of discourse on realism in Czech literature. The project also includes a presentation of critical discussions over realism in the form of a publication.


Discursivity of 19th century literature in the Czech-Slovak context (departmental task, GA ČR 2012-16)

This project, based on grant GA ČR P 406/12/0347, aims to create a detailed, methodologically clarified, synoptic model based on analytical studies of stabilization and changes in 19th century literary discourses, in a contrasting parallel Czech-Slovak form. Czech and Slovak literary histories were either written as quite independent and separate units, or in a spirit of national or Czechoslovakist ideology involving a uniform, integrated whole. The aim of the project here is to follow the development of two relatively independent yet associated structures emerging (from the literary viewpoint) from a fairly homogeneous starting point (the Czech-Slovak unity of literary speech at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries). For more details see

Department members involved in the project are focusing on definitions of basic discourses, whose ongoing crystallization, merger, modification and conflict are followed by the project (classicism), along with studies on individual discourses (classicism, romanticism, realism and parnassianism).

Department members have collaborated on collective monographs edited by D. Tureček: Czech literary romanticism: a synoptic-pulsational model of a cultural phenomenon (2012), with chapters entitled: The literary-history term 'romanticism', Romanticism in Czech literary history (M. Hrdina), The literary image of the glorious past in early reception of the manuscripts and The constitution of the myths of national literature (I. Krejčová).

Members of the Department are currently also involved in:

  • a discussion over the form of the humanities and their organization in the last quarter of the 19th century (Kateřina Piorecká)
  • the creation of modern Czech verse at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries in the Central European context (Dalibor Dobiáš)
  • the work of A. V. Kraus and the origins of Czech Germano-Bohemist studies (Václav Petrbok)
  • Czech literary realism and parnassianism and its period reception (Michal Fránek)
  • literature in the second half of the 19th century and the terminology of literary studies (Martin Hrdina)
  • the changing face of the epic in 19th century Czech literature and the concept of the national myth in the Czech-German context in the first half of the 19th century (Iva Krejčová)
  • a critical edition of the novel by Karel Sabina King Ferdinand the Good and his times (Michal Charypar)



Departmental members: