Friday, June 5, 2015

Božena Němcová

Božena Němcová is considered to be the mother of Czech prose.  She was a major figure in the Czech National Revival movement and many of her works are required reading for Czech school children today.

She was born in 1820 in Vienna and died, at the age of 41, in Prague in 1862.  Her father was Austrian and her mother was Czech.

At 17 she had an arranged marriage to a 15 year old Bohemian patriot.  They had four children but the couple didn't get along.  She spent most of her life in harsh poverty and often had to receive charity.

Němcová wrote many short stories and fairy tales.  Her most famous novel is Babička (The Grandmother) about a young girl and her grandmother in the countryside.  She also wrote a version of Popelka.

There is some speculation on her origin.  Some think that she was actually the illegitimate daughter of Wilhelmine, the Duchess of Sagan, while others think that she may have been Wilhelmine's illegitimate niece.  Neither speculation has ever been proven.

Božena Němcová is featured on the 500 Czech Crown banknote.

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