Karel Čapek

Karel  Čapek

Karel Čapek (Czech pronunciation: was a Czech writer of the 20th century. Born in 1890 in the Bohemian mountain village of Malé Svatoňovice 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. He studied in Prague at Charles University and at the Sorbonne 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 and totalitarianism. 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, 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 Universal 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.