Hostovský, Egon

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HOSTOVSKÝ, EGON

HOSTOVSKÝ, EGON (1908–1973), Czech novelist. Hostovský was born in Hronov, Bohemia. After serving as literary adviser to several Prague publishers, he joined the Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry, and escaped to the U.S. shortly before the Nazi invasion. Hostovský resumed his diplomatic career after World War ii and was sent to the Czechoslovak Embassy in Oslo, but resigned his post following the Communist coup d'état of 1948 and returned to the U.S. Though a prominent Jewish assimilationist in his youth, Hostovský preserved a strong Jewish consciousness, which found literary expression in his earliest novel, Ghetto v nich (The Ghetto Inside Them, 1928). Some of his later works, such as the psychological novel Případ profesora Körnera (The Case of Professor Körner, 1932), also contain Jewish characters, even where they are not explicitly presented as Jews.

Hostovský's many novels include Danajský dar (Greek Gift, 1930), Černá tlupa (1933; The Black Band, 1950), Žhář (The Incendiary, 1935), Dům bez pána (House without a Master, 1937), Sedmkrát v hlavní úloze (1943; Seven Times the Leading Man, 1945), and Úkryt (1943; The Hideout, 1945). Some of Hostovský's later work appeared originally in English, e.g., Půlnoční pacient (1959; The Midnight Patient, 1954), and Dobročinný večírek (1958; The Charity Ball, 1957). Some of his earlier short stories appear in Cesty k pokladům (Journeys to Treasures, 1934) and Listy z vyhnanství (1946; Letters from Exile, 1942). Later works include Všeobecné spiknutí (The Plot, 1961) and Tři noci (Three Nights, 1964). After 1989, Hostovský's work began to be published in Czechoslovakia and in the Czech Republic again. A project to issue his collected works has been under way.

bibliography:

O. Donath, Židé a židovství v české literatuře 19. a 20. století, 2 (1930); B. Václavek, česká literatura xx. století (1935); J.V. and A. Novák, Přehledné dějiny literatury české (19223); J. Pistorius, Padesát let Egona Hostovského (1958); P. Den, in: The Jews of Czechoslovakia (1968), 454f. add. bibliography: F. Kautman, Polarita našeho věku v díle Egona Hostovského, (1993); A.J. Liehm, Generace, (1990); Lexikon české literatury 2/i (1985); A. Mikulášek et al., Literatura s hvězdou Davidovou, vol. 1 (1998); V. Papoušek, Egon Hostovský. Člověk v uzavřeném prostoru (1996); Slovník českých spisovatelů (1982).

[Avigdor Dagan /

Milos Pojar (2nd ed.)]