On the literary Czech of Jakub Arbes Cover Image
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Nad literární češtinou Jakuba Arbesa
On the literary Czech of Jakub Arbes

Author(s): František Štícha
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Applied Linguistics, Stylistics
Published by: Ústav pro jazyk český Akademie věd České republiky
Keywords: Jakub Arbes; classical literary Czech language; language evolution; morphology; lexicon; word order

Summary/Abstract: Jakub Arbes was a well-known Czech writer who died in 1914 and is known as the creator of a specific sort of short novel, called the romaneto. His work, however, is written in a language which is not completely understandable to the contemporary reader. Between the last decade of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th century the Czech literary language changed rapidly and significantly in its morphology (e.g. the forms of noun cases), syntax (e.g. the structure of the passive), the lexicon (the meanings of many words and the styles ascribed to them), as well as word order rules. Supposedly, the classical literary Czech language changed much more substantially than did English, French or German during this period of time. But the reception of the classic Czech literature in the public and among literary historians has not followed this evolution of language as far as the classical Czech literary canon is concerned. Contrary to evident facts, most of the public and the literary historians have resisted the need to translate this outdated system of Czech into the new system of our time. The inevitable result will be the relegation of this literature to the status of museum piece. This article is a first step on the path to a new reception of this outdated Czech literary language.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 9
  • Page Range: 66-80
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Czech