Deníky Karla Teigeho v Literárním archivu Památníku národního písemnictví v Praze
The Diaries of Karel Teige in the Literary Archive of the Museum of Czech Literature in Prague
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The aim of these excerpts is to provide the professional public with a wide range of diary notes written in 1912–1925 by Karel Teige, a key figure of the Czech interwar artistic avant-garde. The collection focuses both on the ‘Prague’ writings, which reflect key historical moments during 1918 and 1919 from the personal perspective of the young, sensitive emerging intellectual, and on texts Teige wrote while vacationing in Neveklov that include his reflections on his own artistic activities, specifically in the field of the visual arts. He finds in these activities an expression not only of his artistic but also of his human existence, in spite of which he can often be seen to express a keen skepticism towards them. It is precisely this tension between the two attitudes that leads to the strongly reflective nature of the excerpts, as they gravitate more and more towards the fields of art criticism and art theory. The aspiring artist strives to formulate his dissatisfaction with his own work by drawing on concepts and insights from the contemporary and historical artistic context. Among other things, this tends to strengthen his theoretical knowledge, together with his ability to synthesize a wide range of cultural and artistic connections that are at the young Teige’s disposal. One might draw an apt comparison here to the young poet Šalda who entered the world of art criticism in the late 1880s and early 1890s — a move which may well have been, to use Šalda’s own expression, ‘per nefas’, but would result nonetheless in a truly essential model of art critique. Teige too found himself drawn in the late 1910s and early 1920s towards the field of art-critical reflection, and he too would come to formulate a unique model for the artistic avant-garde from the perspective of a theorist and organizer.
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