Karel Hlaváček

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Karel Hlaváček in 1895

Karel Hlaváček (August 24, 1874 in Prague – June 15, 1898 in Prague) was a Czech Symbolist and Decadent poet and artist.

He published his poetic works and art criticisms in the journal Moderní revue (Modern review). He was also active as an artist, creating works that suggest his anxieties about sex, such as Exile. He was the founding member and the first president of the nationalist and athletic Sokol group in the Prague suburb of Libeň. He died of tuberculosis aged 23.


His work is notable for its great musicality.

  • Sokolské sonety (Sonnets of falcon or Sonnets of Sokol) - his first and least important book
  • Pozdě k ránu (Late before morning) - a typically melancholy Czech Symbolist book of poetry, written with musicality and unusual rhymes
  • Mstivá kantiléna (Vindictive cantilena) - his most important work, a Decadent book, the poetic interpretation of the Geuzen, it describes their despair
  • Žalmy (Psalms) - unfinished book, a collection of hymn-like poems, stylised as biblical Psalms