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Čapek, Josef

Entry updated 16 January 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1887-1945) author and artist born in the former Austria-Hungary of Czech parentage, older brother of Karel Čapek; his pre-World War One career was almost entirely conducted in collaboration with his ultimately more fluent brother, with whom he remained on exceedingly good terms until Karel died in 1938; they often published as Bratří Čapkové ["The Brothers Čapek"], and are warmly portrayed together by David Herter in The Luminous Depths (2008), the second volume of his First Republic Trilogy, where Josef is seen as a significant figure in his own right. After 1920, their collaborative work was restricted to plays: Že života hmyzu (1921; adapted by Nigel Playfair and Clifford Bax from Paul Selver's unpublished trans as And So Ad Infinitum (The Life of the Insects): An Entomological Review 1923 chap UK) [for details see Checklist below and see Karel Čapek]; and Adam stvořitel (1927; trans Dora Round as Adam the Creator: A Comedy in Six Scenes and an Epilogue 1929), a Satire in which God permits Adam – whose totalizing hatred of compromise satirizes contemporary forms of "enlightenment" like Communism – to destroy the world with his "cannon of negation" and to start again. The new world is as "bad" as the old. Josef Čapek died in Belsen. [JC]

Josef Čapek

born Hronov, Kingdom of Bohemia, Austro-Hungarian Empire [now Czech Republic]: 23 March 1887

died Bergen-Belsen, Germany: April 1945



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