Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Book sections

« Metaphysical Yearning – a Czech Tradition »

Abstract : This paper intends to give the wide panorama of alternative spirituality as a basic feature of modern Czech culture. Although the image of Czechia as the most dechristianized country in Europe is very popular, this must be considered a stereotype. Despite the fact that the secularization of Czech society and culture has been a long-term process, the metaphysical thirst which could be manifested in the culture has not been eradicated. Instead, it has been redirected towards new forms of searching for transcendence. A fundamental episode of this reflection on religiosity took place in around 1900, when opportunities for spirituality beyond confession (any confession, not only the Catholic one) were considered and the role of Churches was questioned. It was also the time when original experiments were performed by artists in order to synthesize different spiritual ideas (e.g. “mystic syncretism” by František Bílek). The author of this article argues that there is an «underground river» of Catholicism in the relationship one can have with the sacred in everyday life. Analyzing different examples of literary works, he shows how Czech writers are rooted in spiritual tradition, even those who are not associated with this idea (e.g. Karel Čapek). Other examples of «classic» Czech authors are also given in the text that show how sensitive they were to spirituality and transcendence. Although such writers as Vítěslav Nezval reduced or marginalized spirituality, this tendency was balanced by artists who manifested their metaphysical needs (e.g. Vladimír Holan and his «metaphysical existentialism»). Different forms of spiritual experiences can be observed throughout the 20th century in Czech literature and they find echoes in the works of authors of the neo-avant-garde, for example in the post-baroque writing of Bohumil Hrabal.
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Xavier Galmiche Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, March 25, 2019 - 7:26:57 AM
Last modification on : Friday, January 14, 2022 - 8:34:02 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-02078060, version 1


Xavier Galmiche. « Metaphysical Yearning – a Czech Tradition ». Danuta Sosnowska; Ewelina Drzewiecka. The Experience of Faith in Slavic Cultures and Literatures in the Context of Postsecular Thought, Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 2019-02-22, Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, p. 189-197., 2019, The Experience of Faith in Slavic Cultures and Literatures in the Context of Postsecular Thought, 978-83-235-3717-5. ⟨hal-02078060⟩



Record views