Uhde, Milan

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UHDE, MILAN (1936– ), Czech playwright, publicist, essayist, and prose writer. Born in Brno, Moravia, into a Czech-Jewish assimilated family, Uhde completed his studies of Czech and Russian at the Faculty of Philosophy in Brno in 1958. He worked at the literary monthly Host do domu ("Guest in the House"). After the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, the journal was banned in 1970. Uhde lost his job and was forced to publish either in samizdat or under assumed names. In 1977 he signed Charter 77. In 1989–90 he became editor-in-chief of the Atlantis Publishing House. Entering political life, he served as minister of culture (1990) and chairman of the House of Deputies of the Czech Parliament (1992–96). Uhde started his literary career with three collections of stories and a satirical anti-regime play Král-Vávra ("King Vávra," 1964), followed by a work in verse, Děvka z města Théby ("The Bitch of Thebes," 1967). In the 1970s he adapted three novels – by V. Páral, I. *Olbracht, and V. Mrštík – for the stage (under a pen name). The play Zvěstování aneb Bedřichu, jsi anděl ("The Annunciation, or Bedřich, You Are an Angel," 1990), written in 1986, is a parody of Karl Marx's biography. Jewish themes are reflected in some characters, names, and stories in Uhde's radio and tv plays, such as Velice tiché ave (1981, 1987; German, "A Very Quiet Ave") in which a Jewish woman who wants to save herself from being sent to a concentration camp uses fake evidence to show that she had non-Jewish parents; Pán plamínků ("The Master of Small Flames," 1977, 1990); Hodina obrany ("An Hour of Defense," 1978, 1991); and Zázrak v černém domě ("Miracle in the Black House," 2004). After 1989 Uhde wrote essays against racism in Česká republiko, dobrý den ("Czech Republic, Good Day!" 1995); on tolerance and freedom in a collection of articles entitled Čeští spisovatelé o toleranci ("Czech Writers on Tolerance," 1994); and on Czech-German relations. In 2000 he was awarded the State Medal of Merit in the Cultural Sphere by President V. Havel. Uhde lived in Brno.


J. Čulík, Knihy za ohradou. Česká literatura v exilových nakladatelstvích 1971–1989 (s.d.); J. Lehár et al., Česká literatura od počátků k dnešku (1998); V. Menclová a kol., Slovník českých spisovatelů (2000); A. Mikulášek et al., Literatura s hvězdou Davidovou, vol. 1 (1998), vol. 2 (2002); Slovník českých spisovatelů (1982).

[Milos Pojar (2nd ed.)]