Čapkova próza a drama jako zvláštní druh cestopisného psaní
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|Title:||Čapkova próza a drama jako zvláštní druh cestopisného psaní|
|Journal or Publication Title:|
Czech Literature, 59, 4, pp. 528-547
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||Čapek, Karel, travel writing|
This essay focuses on the theme of home in the fiction of Karel Čapek (1890–1938) from an intertextual point of view. In the essay, I argue that, in contrast to his travel writing, where home was a fixed point of comparison, in Čapek’s prose fiction the home to varying degrees ceases to exist, and this writing becomes a search for a point of departure. On the one hand, the analysis shows that, while the position of the narrator changes, intermedial techniques and simultaneity are used in Čapek’s fiction. In regard to the position of the home, his fiction may usefully be divided into three groups. The first represents exotic destinations, which are often unsuccessful substitutes for the home. The two early collections of short stories written with Josef Čapek (1887–1945) – Krakonošova zahrada (The Garden of Krakonoš, 1918) and Zářivé hlubiny (The Luminous Depths, 1916) –, as well as the novels Povětroň (Meteor, 1934) and Válka s Mloky (War with the Newts, 1936), belong to this group. The second group describes wandering without a home, for the concept ‘home’ has vanished. The play Ze života hmyzu (The Insect Play, 1922, co‑authored with Josef Čapek) is analyzed here as an example of this group. The last group features journeys of self‑discovery. This treatment of travel begins in the short stories of the collection Boží muka (Wayside Cross, 1917), in the detective stories of Povídky z jedné kapsy (Tales from One Pocket) and Povídky z druhé kapsy (Tales from the Other Pocket), both from 1929, and continues in the novels Hordubal (Hordubal, 1933) and Obyčejný život (An Ordinary life, 1934), where the theme of travel finally becomes synonymous with writing about individual lives.