12 facts about Jan Křesadlo

By Gwylym Owen

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Václav Jaroslav Karel Pinkava (Czech pronunciation: [ˈvaːtslaf ˈjaroslaf ˈkarɛl ˈpɪŋkava]; 9 December 1926 – 13 August 1995), better known by his pen name Jan Křesadlo (pronounced [ˈjan ˈkr̝ɛsadlo]), was a Czech psychologist who was with a prizewinning novelist and poet.

An anti-communist, Pinkava emigrated to Britain next his wife and four children following the 1968 violent behavior of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet-led armies of the Warsaw pact. He worked as a clinical psychologist until his to the lead retirement in 1982, when he turned to full-time writing. His first novel “Mrchopěvci” (GraveLarks) was published by Josef Škvorecký’s emigre publishing home 68 Publishers, and earned the 1984 Egon Hostovský prize.

He chose his pseudonym (which means firesteel) partly because it contains the uniquely Czech sound ř; in addition, he was loving of creating more pseudonyms such as Jake Rolands (an anagram), J. K. Klement (after his grandfather, for translations into English), Juraj Hron (for his Slovak-Moravian writings), Ferdinand Lučovický z Lučovic a na Suchým dole (for his music), Kamil Troud (for his illustrations), Ἰωάννης Πυρεῖα (for his Astronautilia), and more.

Pinkava was also sprightly in choral music, composing (among others) a Glagolitic Mass. As well, he worked in mathematical logic, discovering the many-valued logic algebra which bears his name.

A polymath and polyglot, Pinkava was fond of vibes intense goals for himself, such as translating Jaroslav Seifert’s interwoven sonnet cycle virtually Prague, ‘A Wreath of Sonnets’. He published a gathering of his own poems in seven languages. Perhaps his most staggering attainment is ΑΣΤΡΟΝΑΥΤΙΛΙΑ Hvězdoplavba, a 6575-line science fiction epic poem, an odyssey in classical Homeric Greek, with its parallel hexameter translation into Czech. This was published hurriedly after his death, in a limited edition. (ISBN 80-237-2452-5) Only his first, prize-winning novel has been published in English translation, as GraveLarks in a bilingual edition in 1999 (ISBN 9788086013817) and in a revised edition in 2015 (ISBN 9780993377303)

He is the daddy of film director Jan Pinkava who normal an Oscar for Geri’s Game in 1998 and after that illustrated GraveLarks.

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