Talks with T. G. Masaryk / Edition 1

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Never have two such important world figures collaborated in a biography: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850–1937), the original philosopher-president who founded Czechoslovakia in 1918, and Karel Capek (1890–1938), the leading Czech writer of the time. Capek interviewed Masaryk over a number of years and produced a single narrative that tells Masaryk's incredible story in a voice as ordinary yet magical as the best of Capek's fictional characters. The result is a biographical work like no other, in form or in content.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Toms Garrigue Masaryk was already a grand old man in his 70s when the 32-year-old Capek began interviewing him in 1922. The decade before, Masaryk had crisscrossed Europe and the Atlantic whipping up support from foreign governments and expatriate Czechs and Slovaks for a united, independent country. In 1917, he traveled to a dangerously unstable Russia to create a Czechoslovak army from POWs in Russian camps. A year later, with the Dual Monarchy crumbling, the Czechoslovak republic was created with Masaryk as its president. Recalled in conversations with Capek who would earn fame for his novel War with Newts among other writings, Masaryk's understated accounting of his WWI activities requires some previous knowledge of events. In some ways it is overshadowed by earlier recollections tracing the intellectual underpinnings of revolution. With political activity forbidden, early Czechoslovak nationalism took the form of cultural and academic pursuits aimed at differentiating their culture from the dominant German one. Masaryk's particular interests included the 15th-century reformist Czech Jan Hus and the ``Manuscripts Controversy'' over Ossianic forgeries that their supporters protected as necessary proof of an ancient Czech heritage. Masaryk's explanation of his position gives a sense of his typically upright and commonsensical approach: ``I considered the Manuscripts issue to be first and foremost a moral issue: if they were forgeries we had to confess it to the world; our pride, our culture could not be based on a lie.'' Sept.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780945774266
  • Publisher: Catbird Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1995
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 254
  • Sales rank: 1,173,164
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Karel Capek (1890–1938) is generally considered the greatest Czech author of the first half of this century. He was Czechoslovakia's leading novelist, playwright, story writer, and columnist, and the spirit of its short-lived democracy. His plays appeared on Broadway soon after their debut in Prague, and his books were translated into many languages. Capek expressed himself in the form of accessible and highly enjoyable writing.

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