Karel Capek
Overview
 
Karel Čapek (ˈkarɛl ˈtʃapɛk) (January 9, 1890 – December 25, 1938) was Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 writer of the 20th century.
Born in 1890 in the Bohemian
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 mountain village of Malé Svatoňovice
Malé Svatonovice
Malé Svatoňovice is a village and municipality in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic at the bottom of Jestřebí hory, near the Krkonoše....

 to an overbearing, emotional mother and a distant yet adored father, Čapek was the youngest of three siblings. Čapek would maintain a close relationship with his brother Josef, living and writing with him throughout his adult life.

Čapek became enamored with the visual arts in his teenage years, especially Cubism
Cubism
Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture...

.
Encyclopedia
Karel Čapek (ˈkarɛl ˈtʃapɛk) (January 9, 1890 – December 25, 1938) was Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 writer of the 20th century.

Biography

Born in 1890 in the Bohemian
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 mountain village of Malé Svatoňovice
Malé Svatonovice
Malé Svatoňovice is a village and municipality in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic at the bottom of Jestřebí hory, near the Krkonoše....

 to an overbearing, emotional mother and a distant yet adored father, Čapek was the youngest of three siblings. Čapek would maintain a close relationship with his brother Josef, living and writing with him throughout his adult life.

Čapek became enamored with the visual arts in his teenage years, especially Cubism
Cubism
Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture...

. He studied in Prague at Charles University and at the Sorbonne
Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

 in Paris. Exempted from military service due to the spinal problems that would haunt him his whole life, Čapek observed World War I from Prague. His political views were strongly affected by the war, and as a budding journalist he began to write on topics like nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 and totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

. Through social circles, the young writer developed close relationships with many of the political leaders of the nascent Czechoslovakian state. This included Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and his son Jan
Jan Masaryk
Jan Garrigue Masaryk was a Czech diplomat and politician and Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia from 1940 to 1948.- Early life :...

, who would later become president and foreign secretary.

His early attempts at fiction were mostly plays written with brother Josef. Čapek's first international success was Rossum’s Univeral Robots, a dystopian work about a bad day at a factory populated with sentient androids. The play was translated into English in 1922, and was being performed in the UK and America by 1923. Throughout the 1920s, Čapek worked in many writing genres, producing both fiction and non-fiction, but worked primarily as a journalist.

In the 1930s, Čapek's work focused on the threat of brutal national socialist and fascist dictatorships. His most productive years were during the The First Republic of Czechoslovakia (1918–1938). He wrote Talks with T. G. Masaryk – Masaryk was a Czech patriot
Patriotism
Patriotism is a devotion to one's country, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term's meaning upon context, geography and philosophy...

, the first President of Czechoslovakia, and a regular guest at Čapek's Friday garden parties
Garden party
A garden party is a social gathering with food provided, in the open in a park or a garden. An event described as a garden party is usually more formal than other similar gatherings, which may be called just parties, picnics, barbecues, etc,...

 for leading Czech intellectuals. Čapek was also a member of Masaryk's Hrad
Hrad
The word hrad is the Czech and Slovak word for castle and is commonly used as a part of castle name, e.g. Pražský hrad , Spišský hrad , or Bratislavský hrad .*List of castles in Slovakia...

political network. This extraordinary relationship between the writer and the political leader may be unique. He also became a member of International PEN
International PEN
PEN International , the worldwide association of writers, was founded in London in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere....

 and established, and was first president of, the Czechoslovak Pen Club.

Soon after 1938 it became clear that the Western allies (France, Great Britain) had failed to fulfill the agreements, and failed to defend Czechoslovakia against Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. Karel Čapek refused to leave his country – despite the fact that the Nazi Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 had named him Czechoslovakia's "public enemy number two." Though he suffered all his life from the condition spondyloarthritis. Karel Čapek died of double pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 on December 25, 1938 shortly after part of Czechoslovakia was annexed by Nazi Germany following the so-called Munich Agreement
Munich Agreement
The Munich Pact was an agreement permitting the Nazi German annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. The Sudetenland were areas along Czech borders, mainly inhabited by ethnic Germans. The agreement was negotiated at a conference held in Munich, Germany, among the major powers of Europe without...

. Čapek is buried at the Vyšehrad cemetery
Vyšehrad cemetery
Established in 1869 on the grounds of Vyšehrad Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, the Vyšehrad cemetery is the final resting place of many composers, artists, sculptors, writers, and those from the world of science and politics...

 in Prague. His brother Josef Čapek
Josef Capek
Josef Čapek was a Czech artist who was best known as a painter, but who was also noted as a writer and a poet. He invented the word robot, which was introduced into literature by his brother, Karel Čapek.- Biography :...

, a painter and writer, died in the Nazi Bergen-Belsen
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle...

 concentration camp.

Writing

K.Čapek wrote with intelligence and humor on a wide variety of subjects. His works are known for their interesting and precise description of reality. Čapek is renowned for his excellent work with the Czech language
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

. He is known as a science fiction author, who wrote before science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 became widely recognized as a separate genre. Capek can be considered as one of the founders of classical, non-hardcore European science fiction which aims on possible future (or alternative) social and human evolution on Earth.
However, K.Čapek is comparable with Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

 and George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

 as a speculative fiction
Speculative fiction
Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in literature as well as...

 writer, distinguishing his work from genre-specific hard science fiction
Hard science fiction
Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific or technical detail, or on scientific accuracy, or on both. The term was first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.'s Islands of Space in Astounding Science...

.
Many of his works discuss ethical aspects of industrial inventions and processes already anticipated in the first half of the 20th century. These include mass production
Mass production
Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines...

, nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

, and post-human intelligent beings such as robots or salamander
Salamander
Salamander is a common name of approximately 500 species of amphibians. They are typically characterized by a superficially lizard-like appearance, with their slender bodies, short noses, and long tails. All known fossils and extinct species fall under the order Caudata, while sometimes the extant...

s.

Čapek also expressed fear from social disasters, dictatorship
Dictatorship
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

, violence, human stupidity, the unlimited power of corporations, and greed. Capek tried to find hope, and the way out. Čapek's literary heirs include Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

, Salman Rushdie, Brian Aldiss
Brian Aldiss
Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE is an English author of both general fiction and science fiction. His byline reads either Brian W. Aldiss or simply Brian Aldiss. Greatly influenced by science fiction pioneer H. G. Wells, Aldiss is a vice-president of the international H. G. Wells Society...

, and Dan Simmons
Dan Simmons
Dan Simmons is an American author most widely known for his Hugo Award-winning science fiction series, known as the Hyperion Cantos, and for his Locus-winning Ilium/Olympos cycle....

.

Ivan Klíma
Ivan Klíma
Ivan Klíma is a Czech novelist and playwright.- Biography :Klíma's early childhood in Prague was happy and uneventful, but this all changed with the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, after the Munich Agreement...

, in his biography of Čapek, notes his influence on modern Czech literature, as well as on the development of Czech as a written language. Čapek’s decision to use the vernacular, along with contemporaries like Jaroslav Hašek
Jaroslav Hašek
Jaroslav Hašek was a Czech humorist, satirist, writer and socialist anarchist best known for his novel The Good Soldier Švejk, an unfinished collection of farcical incidents about a soldier in World War I and a satire on the ineptitude of authority figures, which has been translated into sixty...

, was part of the early 20th century revival in written Czech. Klíma writes, "It is thanks to Čapek that the written Czech language grew closer to the language people actually spoke". Čapek was also a translator, and his translations of French poetry into the language inspired a new generation of Czech poets.

His other books and plays include detective stories
Detective fiction
Detective fiction is a sub-genre of crime fiction and mystery fiction in which an investigator , either professional or amateur, investigates a crime, often murder.-In ancient literature:...

, novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

s, fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

s and theatre play
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

s, and even a book on gardening
Gardening
Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants. Ornamental plants are normally grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants are grown for consumption , for their dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use...

. His most important works attempt to resolve problems of epistemology, to answer the question: "What is knowledge?" Examples include "The Tales from Two Pockets", and first book of all the trilogy of novels Hordubal
Hordubal
Hordubal is a Czech novel, written by Karel Čapek. It was first published in 1933. It compares internal and external knowledge. It is considered part of a trilogy with Meteor and An Ordinary Life.-Film Adaptations:...

,
Meteor, and An Ordinary Life.

After World War II, Čapek's work was only reluctantly accepted by the communist government of Czechoslovakia, because during his life he had refused to accept communism as a viable alternative. He was the first in a series of influential non-marxist intellectuals who wrote a newspaper essay in a series called "Why I am not a Communist."

In 2009 (70 years after his death), a book was published containing extensive correspondence by Karel Čapek, in which the writer discusses the subjects of pacifism
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

 and his conscientious objection to military service with lawyer Jindřich Groag from Brno
Brno
Brno by population and area is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, the largest Moravian city, and the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia. Brno is the administrative centre of the South Moravian Region where it forms a separate district Brno-City District...

. Until then, only a portion of these letters were known.

Etymology of robot

The word robot comes from the word robota meaning literally serf labor
Serfdom
Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted to the mid-19th century...

, and, figuratively, "drudgery" or "hard work" in modern Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 and simply work in Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

, archaic Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 and other Slavic languages
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

. The word is documented in the Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

 as rabota "servitude" ( but as "work" in contemporary Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 or Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

), which in turn comes from the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 root *orbh-. Robot is cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 with the German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 word Arbeiter (worker).

Karel Čapek introduced and made popular the frequently used international word robot
Robot
A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control. In practice a robot is usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by computer and electronic programming. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or...

, which first appeared in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)
R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)
R.U.R. is a 1920 science fiction play in the Czech language by Karel Čapek. R.U.R. stands for Rossum's Universal Robots, an English phrase used as the subtitle in the Czech original. It premiered in 1921 and introduced the word "robot" to the English language and to science fiction as a whole.The...

in 1921. While it is frequently thought that he was the originator of the word, he wrote a short letter in reference to an article in the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 in which he named his brother, painter and writer Josef Čapek
Josef Capek
Josef Čapek was a Czech artist who was best known as a painter, but who was also noted as a writer and a poet. He invented the word robot, which was introduced into literature by his brother, Karel Čapek.- Biography :...

, as its actual inventor. In an article in the Czech journal Lidové noviny
Lidové noviny
Lidové noviny is a daily newspaper published in the Czech Republic. It is the oldest Czech daily. Its profile is nowadays a national news daily covering political, economic, cultural and scientific affairs, mostly with a centre-right, conservative view...

in 1933, he also explained that he had originally wanted to call the creatures laboři (from Latin labor, work). However, he did not like the word, seeing it as too artificial, and sought advice from his brother Josef, who suggested "roboti" (robots in English).

Works which can be considered early science fiction

  • 1920 - R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)
    R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)
    R.U.R. is a 1920 science fiction play in the Czech language by Karel Čapek. R.U.R. stands for Rossum's Universal Robots, an English phrase used as the subtitle in the Czech original. It premiered in 1921 and introduced the word "robot" to the English language and to science fiction as a whole.The...

    (Rossumovi univerzální roboti) - one of the first usages of artificial human-like beings in art and literature and are manufactured by biotechnology not mechanics.
  • 1922 - The Makropulos Affair
    The Makropulos Affair
    The Makropulos Affair The Makropulos Affair The Makropulos Affair (or The Makropoulos Case, or The Makropulos Secret or, literally, The Makropulos Thing; (Czech Věc Makropulos) is a three-act opera by Czech composer Leoš Janáček...

    (Věc Makropulos) - discussion about human immortality, not really from a science-fiction point of view
  • 1922 - The Absolute at Large
    The Absolute at Large
    The Absolute at Large , is a science fiction novel written by Czech author Karel Čapek in 1922...

    (Továrna na absolutno) - can be interpreted as vision of consumer society
  • 1922 - Krakatit
    Krakatit
    Krakatit is a 1948 Czechoslovak science fiction mystery film directed by Otakar Vávra, starring Karel Höger as a chemist who suffers from delirium and regret after inventing a powerful explosive. The film is based on Karel Čapek's novel with the same title....

    - plot includes prediction of nuclear-weapon-like explosive
  • 1936 - War with the Newts
    War with the Newts
    War with the Newts , also translated as War with the Salamanders, is a 1936 satirical science fiction story by Czech author Karel Čapek. It concerns the discovery in the Pacific of a sea-dwelling race, an intelligent breed of newts, who are initially enslaved and exploited...

    (Válka s mloky) - dystopia
    Dystopia
    A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian, as characterized in books like Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four...

    n satire
    Satire
    Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...


Anti-Nazi plays from the 1930s

  • 1937 - The White Disease
    The White Disease
    The White Disease is a play written by Czech novelist Karel Čapek in 1937. Written at a time of increasing threat from Nazi Germany to Czechoslovakia, it portrays a human response to a tense, prewar situation in an unnamed country that greatly resembles Germany with one extra, somewhat absurd...

    (Bílá nemoc) - earlier translated as Power and Glory
  • 1938 - The Mother (Matka)

Other works

  • Stories from a Pocket and Stories from Another Pocket (Povídky z jedné a z druhé kapsy) — a common name for a cycle of short detective stories (5–10 pages long) that shared common attitude and characters, including The Last Judgement.
  • How it is Made — satiric novels on the life of theatre, newspaper and film studio.
  • The Gardener's Year (Zahradníkův rok, 1929) is exactly what it says it is: a year-round guide to gardening, charmingly written, with illustrations by his brother Josef Čapek.
  • Pictures from the Insects' Life
    Pictures from the Insects' Life
    Pictures from the Insects' Life , also known as Insect Play or The Life of the Insects, is a satirical play in the Czech language written by the brothers Karel Čapek and Josef Čapek. It was published in 1921 and premiered in 1922...

    (Ze života hmyzu), also known as Insect Play or The Life of the Insects, with Josef Čapek, a satire in which insect
    Insect
    Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

    s stand in for various human characteristics: the flighty, vain butterfly
    Butterfly
    A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured...

    , the obsequious, self serving dung beetle
    Dung beetle
    Dung beetles are beetles that feed partly or exclusively on feces. All of these species belong to the superfamily Scarabaeoidea; most of them to the subfamilies Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae of the family Scarabaeidae. This beetle can also be referred to as the scarab beetle. As most species of...

    .
  • Apocryphal Tales (Kniha apokryfů, 1932, 2nd edition 1945), short stories about literary and historical characters, such as Hamlet
    Hamlet
    The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

    , a struggling playwright, Pontius Pilate
    Pontius Pilate
    Pontius Pilatus , known in the English-speaking world as Pontius Pilate , was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36. He is best known as the judge at Jesus' trial and the man who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus...

    , Don Juan
    Don Juan
    Don Juan is a legendary, fictional libertine whose story has been told many times by many authors. El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra by Tirso de Molina is a play set in the fourteenth century that was published in Spain around 1630...

    , Alexander arguing with his teacher Aristotle
    Aristotle
    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

    , and Sarah
    Sarah
    Sarah or Sara was the wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran. Her name was originally Sarai...

     and Abraham
    Abraham
    Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

     attempting to name ten good people so Sodom
    Sodom and Gomorrah
    Sodom and Gomorrah were cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis and later expounded upon throughout the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and Deuterocanonical sources....

     can be saved: "What do you have against Namuel? He's stupid but he's pious."
  • Nine Fairy Tales: And One More Thrown in for Good Measure (Devatero Pohádek a ještě jedna od Josefa Čapka jako přívažek, 1932)
  • Dashenka, or the Life of a Puppy (Dášenka čili Život štěněte, 1933)

Travel books

  • Letters from Italy (Italské listy, 1923)
  • Letters from England (Anglické listy, 1924)
  • Letters from Spain (Výlet do Španěl, 1930)
  • Letters from Holland (Obrázky z Holandska, 1932)
  • Travels in the North (Cesta na Sever, 1936)

Selected bibliography

  • The Absolute at Large, 1922 (in Czech), 1927, The Macmillan Company, New York, translator uncredited. Also published June 1975, Garland Publishing ISBN 0-8240-1403-0,
  • Apocryphal Tales, 1945 (in Czech), May 1997, Catbird Press Paperback ISBN 0-945774-34-6, Translated by Norma Comrada
  • An Atomic Phantasy: Krakatit or simply Krakatit, 1924 (in Czech)
  • Nine Fairy Tales: And One More Thrown in for Good Measure, October 1996, Northwestern Univ Press Paperback Reissue Edition, ISBN 0-8101-1464-X. Illustrated by Josef Capek, Translated by Dagmar Herrmann
  • R.U.R, March 1970, Pocket Books ISBN 0-671-46605-4
  • Tales from Two Pockets 1928-9 (in Czech), 1994, Catbird Press Paperback, ISBN 0-945774-25-7
  • Short story collection, Mystery (nsf) Translated by Norma Comrada June 1994, Catbird Press Paperback ISBN 0-945774-25-7
  • Talks With T.G. Masaryk Non-fiction. Biography of T.G. Masaryk, founder of Czechoslovakia.
  • Three Novels: Hordubal, Meteor, An Ordinary Live, 1933–34, Translated by M. and R. Weatherall, 1990, Catbird Press
  • Toward the Radical Center: A Karel Capek Reader. Collection of stories, plays and columns. Edited by Peter Kussi, Catbird Press ISBN 0-945774-07-9
  • War with the Newts 1936 (in Czech), May 1967, Berkley Medallion Edition Paperback. Translated by M. & R. Weatherall, March 1990, Catbird Press paperback, ISBN 0-945774-10-9, October 1996, Northwestern University Press paperback ISBN 0-8101-1468-2

Another English translation by Ewald Osers ISBN 978-0-945774-10-5
  • "Cross Roads," 2002, Catbird Press, ISBN 0-945774-06-9 cloth; 0-945774-07-0 trade paperback. Translation by Norma Comrada of "Boží muka" (1917) and "Trapné povídky" (1921).

Čapek biographies in English

  • "Karel Čapek: An Essay," Alexander Matuška, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1964. Translation from the Slovak by Cathryn Alan of "Člověk protí zkaze: Pokus o Karla Čapka."
  • "Karel Čapek," by William E. Harkins, Columbia University Press, 1962.
  • "Karel Čapek: In Pursuit of Truth, Tolerance and Trust," Bohunka R. Bradbrook, Sussex Academic Press, 1998, ISBN 1-898723-85-0.
  • "Karel Čapek: Life and Work," Ivan Klíma, Catbird Press, 2002, ISBN 0-945774-53-2. Translation from the Czech by Norma Comrada of "Velký věk chce mít tež velké mordy: Život a dílo Karla Čapka."

Čapek in popular culture

  • On the science fiction cartoon show Futurama
    Futurama
    Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of a late 20th-century New York City pizza delivery boy, Philip J...

    (season 1, episode 5 - "Fear of a Bot Planet
    Fear of a Bot Planet
    "Fear of a Bot Planet" is the fifth episode in season one of Futurama. It originally aired in North America on April 20, 1999. The episode was written by Heather Lombard and Evan Gore and directed by Peter Avanzino and Carlos Baeza....

    "), a planet inhabited entirely by robots was named "Chapek 9", as a reference to Karel Čapek's coining of the term "robot".
  • In the Star Trek
    Star Trek
    Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

    episode "Requiem for Methuselah", the android Rayna Kapec was named in honor of Čapek.
  • A recurring character in the cartoon show Batman: The Animated Series
    Batman: The Animated Series
    Batman: The Animated Series is an American animated series based on the DC Comics character Batman. The series featured an ensemble cast of many voice-actors including Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Arleen Sorkin, and Loren Lester. The series won four Emmy Awards and was nominated...

    was named Karl Rossum. He was an inventor that specialized in robots.
  • The story "Big Robots" in Judge Dredd Megazine
    Judge Dredd Megazine
    Judge Dredd: The Megazine is a monthly British comic magazine, launched in October 1990. It is a sister publication to 2000 AD. Its name is a play on words, formed from "magazine" and Dredd's locale Mega-City One.-Content:...

    (#257 - ?) features a Mega-City One
    Mega-City One
    Mega-City One is a huge fictional city-state covering much of what is now the Eastern United States in the Judge Dredd comic book series. The exact boundaries of the city depend on which artist has drawn the story...

    tower block named "Karel Čapek" which turned out to be a giant robot.
  • At least two computer programming languages were named for Čapek:
    • KAREL is the programming language for FANUC robots.
    • Karel is a teaching tool, intended to introduce programming to beginners; students instruct a robot (also named Karel) how to perform various tasks.
  • In the computer game Red Faction
    Red Faction
    Red Faction is a first-person shooter video game developed by Volition, Inc. and published by THQ. It was released for the PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows and Mac in 2001. A version for the Nokia N-Gage was developed by Monkeystone Games. The game was also re-developed as a top-down shooter for...

    there is a character named Dr. Capek, who is involved in experiments with nanotechnology
    Nanotechnology
    Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres...

    .
  • The Japanese H-game R.U.R.U.R.
    R.U.R.U.R.
    is a Japanese H-game for computer, developed and published by light. The game is known for its use of established science fiction elements in its story, along with numerous references to several works of literature, including Antoine de Saint Exupéry's The Little Prince and Karel Čapek's R.U.R.In...

    uses "Čapek" as a term for a specific type of robot: biological machines made from flesh mixed in a vat with nanomachines.
  • There is a Dr Capek in Heinlein's DOUBLE STAR.
  • On the TV show Dollhouse
    Dollhouse (TV series)
    Dollhouse is an American science fiction television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon under Mutant Enemy Productions. It premiered on February 13, 2009, on the Fox network and was officially cancelled on November 11, 2009. The final episode aired on January 29, 2010...

    , the parent corporation is named Rossum.
  • In the video game Mass Effect 2
    Mass Effect 2
    Mass Effect 2 is an action role-playing game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on January 26, 2010 and for PlayStation 3 on January 18, 2011...

    , one mission requires the player to shut down a factory which produces defective robots on a planet called Capek.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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