Karel Klostermann : dokumentarista Šumavy?
Karel Klostermann : Šumava documentarist?
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This study engages in a critique of the documentary validity of Karel Klostermann’s (1848–1923) “Bohemian Forest” work, particularly with regard to the dominant narrative on the destruction of the “original” Bohemian Forest as a result of the unprecedented windstorm of 1870, which is a prominent motif in contemporary discourse on the Bohemian Forest National Park. By excerpting all the descriptions of the natural environment in the novels Ze světa lesních samot (From the World of Forest Solitude, 1891), V ráji šumavském (The Bohemian Forest Paradise, 1893) and the accompanying Črt ze Šumavy (Bohemian Forest Sketch, 1890) I create maps which are then contrasted to each other. By comparing them with the “overall” (general) descriptions, i.e. those relating to each book’s entire setting, I came to detect some significant discrepancies. I consider one substantial finding to be that although on the basis of general descriptions, Klostermann stated that the “Bohemian Forest” indeed underwent fundamental disruption in autumn 1870, his local descriptions tend more to indicate that there was no significant change in the ratio of “original” and exploited land resulting from the windstorm, the bark beetle outbreak and subsequent woodcropping. Hence the narrative that is traditionally identified with Klostermann’s work primarily arises from an inconsistent interpretation of text associated with the writer’s specific role (which, it should be added, is also partially reflected by him) as a creator of the collective memory for the entire region.
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