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Two Hundred Years Since the Birth of Božena Němcová

13. 02. 2020

“If I were to choose, I would wish to be born again in about two hundred years, or even later, since I do not know if the world would be one in which I could live with pleasure.”

Two hundred years had passed since the birth of one of the best known Czech writers Božena Němcová and we can only guess whether she would enjoy living in the modern world or not. One thing that we can deduce with some level of certainty is that she would probably be surprised to find out that her name and works still resonate with the Czech (and also the foreign) audience as much as they do. Her books are integral to the Czech literature education in primary and high schools and her masterpiece The Grandmother is on the required reading list for all children in the Czech Republic. She would probably be shocked to realise The Grandmother was translated into various languages including English, German, French, but also Chinese or even Esperanto. 

There are many film and theatre adaptations, musicals and parodies inspired by the book, the list is endless. Němcová’s portrait adorns the 500 CZK note, streets carrying her name can be found in many cities, towns and villages all around the Czech Republic, as well as her statues and memorials.

Božena Němcová might have not been born again two hundred years after her birth but she is most definitely very present in our lives even in 2020, and probably still will be in another two hundred years.

You can listen to a short broadcast from Radio Prague One about Božena Němcová's book The Grandomether here.

Photo: National museum (Prague)