Monday, November 7, 2016

Born Today November 7: Karel Jaromîr Erben


Czech writer and historian Karel Jaromír Erben was born today in Miletín in what was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (today Czech Republic).  His youth apparently passed in the region. In 1831 he relocated to Prague to study philosophy and later law. In 1843 he gained employment at the National Museum working with historian and politician Frantisek Palacky.  In 1848 he became the editor of the newspaper in Prague.  Two years later he became the archives secretary for the Museum as well.  He is best known for his poetry, though he also wrote short stories and historical works as well.  His poetry widely consisted of folkloric themes.  In the world of film, the first motion picture produced from his work came in 1925. Czech actor/director Theodore Pistek made a film from one of Erben's poem; that film Svatební kosile, decidedly gothic in nature, featured only 4 actors, one which was Pistek; another was a role simply entitled Dead Man (an early incarnation of a type of "zombie"). The film was shot by talented Czech cinematographer Josef Kokeisl.  This was the only film in the silent era to be made from Erben's work. The next use of his material would not come until the 1950's, after which over the decades a few films here and there have been produced based on his stories, fairy tales and poems.  The latest to be released was The Noonday Witch earlier this year; with another title Zlatovláska in the works.  Erben contracted tuberculosis, which eventually claimed his life on the 21st of November 1870, only a short time after his 59th birthday.  He is buried in an elaborate tomb in the Olsany Cemetery--the largest, and arguable most ornate, graveyard in Prague.

For More:

Wikipedia (English page) (contains much less information)

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