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„Im Inneren desselben ‚Ichs‘ “

Karel Čapeks Hovory s T. G. Masarykem als kollaboratives Buchprojekt

Anna Artwińska


Pages 79 - 102



“Inside the Same Self”: Karel Čapek’s Hovory s T. G. Masarykem as a Collaborative Book Project

This article deals with the conversations which the writer Karel Čapek conducted with President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk at Lány Castle and which were published as a book in 1928 – 1935 (Hovory s T. G. Masarykem). The text of the conversations is discussed as an example of “heterobiographies” (Philipp Lejeune) or “writing in alliances” (Susanne Strätling). The aim is, on the one hand, to trace the process of creation as precisely as possible, and on the other hand, to define such problems as autobiographical truth, authorship, and memory in the case of texts created in collaboration. These theoretical considerations about the form of <em>Hovory</em> serve the purpose of learning more about Čapek as a co-author as well as understanding Masaryk’s strategies of self-representation. The paper argues that the fact that Čapek wrote Hovory in the first person and did not overtly mark his actual work on the manuscript means that the text was long regarded as Masaryk’s autobiography and thus a source about his life. Yet it is worth perceiving it as a collaborative writing project characterized by dual authorship. As such, it reveals all the asymmetries and problems of power inherent in the conversations between Čapek and Masaryk, which can be explained both biographically and historically and in terms of literary studies.

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