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The page of Březina, Otokar, English biography

Image of Březina, Otokar
Březina, Otokar
(Václav Jebavý)


Otokar or Otakar Březina – pen name of Václav Jebavý; (September 13, 1868 – March 25, 1929) was an Austro-Hungarian and Czechoslovakian poet and essayist, considered the greatest of Czech Symbolists.
Březina was born in the small town of Počátky, and took his inspiration from the mysterious landscape of the Českomoravská Vrchovina region, straddling Bohemia and Moravia, where he spent his whole life.
Almost all of the works were created during the period of 13 years, while he was working as a teacher in Nová Říše, a small town with a monastery; he regularly visited the large library to study various books by medieval philosophers, especially German and French mysticists), and thus recovered from the shock produced by the sudden death of both of his parents. Around 1895, he pondered questions regarding the meaning of life, and wrote his first book of poems Tajemné dálky, expressing his separation from the outer world and his seeking solace in arts.
In his second book, Svítání na západě (1896), Březina explored pain and as a way to cognition, and held death to be the key to understanding the mystery of life. His third book, Větry od pólů (1897), show him shifting focus from his personal pain to the issue of human solidarity, as well as his endeavor to merge with the life energy of the Cosmos; the feeling of belonging to "Everything" is more perceptible in his next book Stavitelé chrámu (where he glorified the ingenious personalities as the bearers of development), and culminates in his last book of poems, Ruce (1901), in a vision of a magical chain formed by all hands, building up the ulterior world.
Březina's poetical expression, very rich in metaphors and parables, religious elements and philosophical and even scientific terms, merged gradually from the rhythmical alexandrines into the broad free verse, filled with sensual images, rich in thought and musical taste. His books of essays creates the integral part of his work, and the large correspondence serves as a commentary of his creation and philosophy. Březina is also noted for the friendships he tied with other Czech cultural figures, including the Symbolist sculptor František Bílek, the literary critic, sociologist and political scientist Emanuel Chalupný, the poet, prose writer, and priest Jakub Deml, and the original philosopher and writer Ladislav Klíma.
He died in Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou. There are various discourses and monographs of Otokar Březina, of which the arguably largest is the one authored by Oldřich Králík in 1948; an English-language study and translation of Březina, Oskar Březina: a Study in Czech Literature, was written by Paul Selver in 1921. Březina's peculiar and soaring poetry influenced a big number of Czech modern poets.

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