Famous Dead.

The Czech Republic likes to claim him for itself, but also Germany likes to put him side by side with Goethe and Thomas Mann because Kafka wrote his books in German.

So in whatever literary canon you’d like to list Franz Kafka in, the world-famous writer was born in Prague and his writings are high-ranking in numerous nations. Another artist of world fame is Smetana, of course. The composer of “The Moldau” is closely-connected to Bohemia. As is Antonín Dvořák.

Franz Kafka.

The famous author Franz Kafka was born on July 3, 1883 in Prague which was at that time still part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. His literary legacy, including the famous novels “The Trial” and “The Metamorphosis”, is one of the most influential in Western literary culture.

During his lifetime the author published but a few short stories and was largely unknown to the broad public. Kafka himself was in doubt of his literary status and raison d’être and even wanted his unpublished scripts burned after his death. A last wish remaining unfulfilled, as his friend Max Brod assigned executor of the extinction of Kafka’s creative work, luckily decided to publish it instead.

Kafka died on 3 June 1924 and most of his works were left incomplete.  Only after the Second World War the writer reached world-wide fame which spread from the USA and France finally to Germany.  All his original writing is in German language.

Antonín Dvořák.
Antonín Dvořák is a Czech composer of world fame. Born on September 8, 1841  in Nelahozeves, he died on May 1, 1904 in Prague. His pieces can be both attributed to Romanticism and Classicism employing idioms and melodies of Bohemian and Moravian folk music. During his life time his creative work led him outside of Czech borders to England and the USA, today he remains well-known throughout the world.

Bedřich Smetana.

The Bohemian composer of world-fame, Bedřich Smetana, is perhaps best known for his symphonic rendition of the river Vltava’s flow through the Czech country. ‘The Moldau’ hence is probably what he will always be remembered for.

Smetana was born on March 2, 1824 in Litomyšl when Bohemia was still part of the Austrian Empire. He had studied the piano and violin from an early age on and then studied music in Prague. The composer believed that music should be patriotic and it is thus not surprising that many of his works are based on Czech myths, themes and dance rhythms sometimes resembling old folk songs. In fact, he was the first composer to write pieces that were specifically Czech in character. He died on May 12 in 1884.

Alfons Mucha.

Mucha was born in Ivancice in South Moravia on July 24, 1860. The artist’s work can be clearly classified as belonging to Art Noveau. If you want to get a good sense of his work, you should visit the Mucha Museum in Prague.

Interestingly, his legacy has for the longest time been quite ignored by his own countrymen; conversely, his style has influenced quite a few contemporary comic artists world-wide. Alfons Mucha died on  July 14, 1939.