Stríbrný, Zdenek

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STŘÍBRNÝ, Zeňek 1922-

PERSONAL:

Born October 1, 1922, in Bystríce p. Hostýnem; son of Josef (a cabinetmaker) and Jindîŝka (a household and shop manager) Stîíbrný; married, 1952; wife's name Mariana (a translator); children: Jan. Ethnicity: "Czech." Education: Charles University, Prague, M.A., 1949, Ph.D., 1951, C.Sc., 1957, Dr.Sc., 1965. Politics: Social Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Music, both classical and jazz, sports (only televised now).

ADDRESSES:

Home—Kćervenému Vrchu 678, 16OOO Prague 6-Vokovice, Czech Republic. Office—Charles University, College of Liberal Arts, Department of English and American Studies, Nám'estí J. Palacha 2, 116 38 Prague 1, Czech Republic.

CAREER:

Educator and author. Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and Arts, Prague, researcher, 1952-61, consultant, 1989-92; Charles University, Prague, professor of English and American literature and head of English department, 1961-70, 1990—; research professor in computer center, 1971-88.

MEMBER:

International Shakespeare Association (member of executive committee, 1991—), Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft (honorary member), Shakespeare Society (Prague; honorary chairman, 1997—), Shakespeare Association of America, Franz Kafka Society, Circle of Modern Philologists, Prague (chairman, 1990—, honorary chairman, 1996—).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Prize of the Czechoslovak Academy, 1960, 1988; D.Litt., University of Leicester, 1991.

WRITINGS:

Shakespeare's History Plays (in Czech with English summary), Czechoslovak Academy (Prague, Czechoslovakia), 1959.

Shakespeare's Predecessors (in Czech with English summary), Charles University Press (Prague, Czechoslovakia), 1965.

A History of English Literature (in Czech), two volumes, Czechoslovak Academy (Prague, Czechoslovakia), 1988.

Shakespeare in Eastern Europe, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

A volume of Shakespearean essays with an autobiographical preface, for University of Delaware Press; another volume of Shakespearean essays written in Czech for Charles University Press.

SIDELIGHTS:

Zdeňek Sťríbrný told CA: "When I was asked by the two editors of the new series Oxford Shakespeare Topics to write on Shakespeare and Eastern Europe, I immediately felt that this was a work I was born to do. I remembered vividly the most exciting course for me at my alma mater, Charles University in Prague, after the liberation of Czechoslovakia in May 1945. It was a seminar on Anglo-Russian literacy relations conducted by Professor Otakar Vǒcadlo right after his return from the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald. Still pale and thin, he overwhelmed us by a flood of linguistic, historical, and literary data, inviting us to connect them by our own effort. Under his stimulating supervision, I started to probe into Shakespeare's influence on A. S. Pushkin, whom I loved best of all Russian authors. Ever since then I have been hooked on Shakespeare as well as his impact on Slavonic and other East European countries. I have been convinced that a full survey of Shakespeare's influence on European culture should include important East European writers, translators, critics, actors, directors, designers, filmmakers, composers, and other artists who creatively responded to Shakespeare's spell. Owing to word limit I had to be highly selective, so that my book should be considered as the first, basic attempt at covering the vast field both historically and geographically. I expect that it will be evaluated and elaborated by more detailed studies.

"So far I have received letters of thanks and appreciation from as far as St. Petersburg, Sofia, Bonn, London, Los Angeles, etc. The most encouraging recent letter was from Stephen Greenblatt of Harvard University, saying: 'It is a wonderful, fascinating and important book.' Linda Dean, director of education at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, wrote in an e-mail to her friends: 'It's extremely well researched and wonderfully readable.…The closing chapters focus on Shakespeare behind the Iron Curtain and Post-Communist Shakespeare. These chapters should help us realize how precious artistic and political freedom are.'"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Times Literary Supplement, June 16, 2000, Jonathon Bate, review of Shakespeare in Eastern Europe.

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Stríbrný, Zdenek

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