Vohryzek, Josef

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VOHRYZEK, JOSEF (1926–1998), Czech literary critic, translator, and prose writer. Born in Prague, Vohryzek was sent by his parents (who perished in the Holocaust) to Sweden in 1940, where he lived until 1950. In 1956 he graduated from Charles University in Prague, where he studied Czech and literary sciences. In his articles in the literary monthly Květen ("May"), where he worked from 1956 to 1985, he refused to adopt the Marxist-Communist dogma. In 1959 he had lost his job at the Institute for Czech literature of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences because of his criticism of the Communist Party's policies. Vohryzek worked as a translator (especially from Swedish – Lindgren, Bergman, Strinberg, Ibsen) and an editor. After 1970 he was forced to do only manual jobs. He signed Charter 77 and became its spokesperson in 1987. A collection of his articles from the 1960s was published as Kniha Josefova (1986 in samizdat "The Book of Josef"; in 1995 as Literární kritiky ("Literary Criticism")). His experimental prose work Chodec ("The Walker," 1964) was inspired by his stay in Sweden. After 1989 he was fully occupied with literary criticism and with the issue of antisemitism. He wrote excellent critical works on the books of J. Kovtun; I.B. *Singer; S. *Wiesenthal; and V. Černý.


J. Lehár, Česká literatura od počátků k dnešku (1998); Slovník českých spisovatelů (1982); Slovník českých spisovatelů (2000).

[Milos Pojar (2nd ed.)]