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Jiří Wolker

Jiří Wolker

Literature and film

Jiří Wolker (1900-1924) was one of the most outstanding and talented Czech poets of the generation that entered literature in the early 1920s. He had a warm relationship with Olomouc. His grandparents lived at Svatý Kopeček, where he spent his holidays. On their house (called Wolker’s Villa) in St. Krejčího Street there is a memorial plaque with a bust of the poet.

Jiří Wolker was born the son of a bank clerk in a patrician family in Prostějov. From an early age he showed not only literary, but also artistic and musical talent. During the holidays he stayed with his grandparents at Svatý Kopeček near Olomouc, who had a cross erected on the hill on the occasion of his birth as an expression of gratitude. Svatý Kopeček is also the title of a well-known poem that accompanies the famous collection Guest to the House (1921).

From 1919 he studied law in Prague and for a year attended the lectures of F. X. Šalda and also Z. Nejedlý. He eagerly participated in the Prague literary movement, and in 1922-1923 he was an important member of the artistic association Devětsil. In 1922, he published his second collection, The Heavy Hour. His work can be classified as proletarian poetry, of which he was the best known representative. In April 1923 he was diagnosed with a lung disease – tuberculosis, he was treated by the sea and in the High Tatras, finally succumbing to it at a young age. Wolker’s last verses were also his epitaph: “Here lies Jiří Wolker, the poet who loved the world and went to battle for its justice. Before he could set his heart to the fight, he died young at the age of twenty-four.”


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