Weiner, Richard

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WEINER, RICHARD (1884–1937), Czech poet, author, and journalist. Weiner was born in Písek, Bohemia. Although for many years Paris correspondent of the leading Czechoslovak newspaper Lidové Noviny, Weiner was essentially a poet. His books of verse, Pták ("The Bird", 1913), Usměvavé odříkání ("Smiling Abandon," 1914), Mnoho nocí ("Many Nights," 1928), Zátiší s kulichem, herbářem a kostkami ("Still Life with Owl, Herbarium and Dice," 1929), and Mezopotámie (1930, 1965), made an original, substantially Jewish contribution to modern Czech poetry. In his short stories he displays typically Jewish qualities of irony and self-criticism and a desire to reconcile opposites. Weiner's prose, often reminiscent of *Kafka's in his use of a psychoanalytic technique, often, like a cubist painter, showing things simultaneously from different angles, provides a surprising contrast between the simplicity of his plots and the complexity of his characters. His short story collections include Netečný divák ("The Apathetic Spectator," 1917), Lítice ("Furies," 1916), Škleb ("The Grimace," 1919, 1993), Lazebník ("The Barber", 1929, 1967, 1974), and Hra doopravdy ("A Play in Earnest," 1933, 1967, 1974). His deep interest in the Jewish problem is revealed in a number of his essays. Weiner repudiated Jewish assimilation and admired Zionist ideals, without, however, joining the Zionist movement, and he remained a solitary, split character, like many of the characters he described in his stories. An anthology of Weiner's poems, Sluncem svržený sok ("The Rival Toppled by the Sun"), was published in 1989. After the fall of the Communist regime Weiner's collected works began to be published.


P. Váša and A. Gregor, Katechismus dějin české literatury (1925); O. Donath, Židé a židovství v české literatuře 19. a 20. století (1930); J. Chalupecký, Richard Weiner (Czech, 1947); Hostovský, in: Jews of Czechoslovakia (1967), 441f. add. bibliography: V. Linhartová, "Doslov," in: R. Weiner, Hra doopravdy (1967); A. Mikulášek, Literatura s hvězdou Davidovou vol. 1 (1998); B. Novák, O Richardu Weinerovi (1932); Slovník českých spisovatelů (2000).

[Avigdor Dagan /

Milos Pojar (2nd ed.)]