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Vladimír Holan

Czech poet and translator
Vladimír Holan (in the centre)

Vladimír Holan (1905-1980) was a Czech poet.



Vladimír Holan was born in 1905[1] in Prague. He got his high-school certificate in 1926[2] and started to study law. However, he was not much interested in it and left the university quickly. He worked in an office and after some years abandoned it because of ill health.

In 1926 Holan published his first book[3] of poetry named Blouznivý vějíř (A Thoughtful Fan). The poet himself was not much pleased with the book. In 1930 he published another book which was more successful, named Triumf smrti (The Triumph of Death). Many other books followed that. The most important work by Holan is Noc s Hamletem (A night with Hamlet). Holan wrote poems till 1977 when his only daughter died. After it he wrote nothing more. Holan was awarded many times and nominated for Nobel prize. The poet died in Prague in 1980. He was buried at Olšany Cemetery in Prague.


Holan's poems are different and usually regarded as difficult.[4] The poems are full of symbols and images that can be understood in different ways. He used classical verse forms and free verse as well. He is also known to have employed alliteration and puns.[5] Holan was also a translator. He translated European literature into Czech.


  • Úderem tepny. Sborník ze semináře k interpretaci básnického díla Vladimíra Holana, Edited by Vladimír Justl, Viola, Praha 1986


  1. "Vladimír Holan" (in Czech). Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  2. "Vladimír HOLAN" (in Czech). slovnik ceske literatury. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  3. "Vladimír Holan: Gesammelte Werke. Deutsch-tschechische Ausgabe" (in German). Heidelberger Forum Edition. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  4. Partridge, James. "Book Review: A Night with Hamlet". Central Europe Review. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  5. Wiktor J. Darasz, Harmonia wokaliczna w poezji Vladimíra Holana. „Almanach Czeski”, 2006, p. 55–58 (in Polish); Lukáš Neumann, Od vanutí po záhřmotí – hlásková instrumentace v poezii Vladimíra Holana, Bohemistyka X, 2010, nr 4, p. 249–273, ISSN 1642–9893 (in Czech).


  • James Partridge, The Narrative Poetry of Vladimír Holan, 1939-1955, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2007.
  • Józef Waczków, Vladimír Hola [in:] Literatury zachodniosłowiańskie czasu przełomów 1890-1990, Vol. 2, Katowice 1999 (in Polish).

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