Bondy faces economic catastrophe in the opening pages of Karel Capek
's satirical novel The Absolute at Large.
by Karel Capek
. Robot derives from robota, which means labour, or work, in Czech.
Wells, Aldous Huxley and Karel Capek
. Add in Mary Shelley and Jules Verne and one would have something close to a canon of European, as distinct from American, science fiction writing.
The word robot made its debut in 1920 when Karel Capek
, a Czech playwright, wrote "R.U.R." or "Rossum's Universal Robots." The word refers to an android slave labor force.
I also consulted an admittedly dated and eclectic personal bookshelf that includes Mary Ellen Capek
's A Women's Thesaurus (Harper & Row 1987); Jane Mills' Woman Words: A Dictionary of Words About Women (Henry Holt, 1989) and Mary Daly's priceless Websters' First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language (done with Jane Caputi and also published by Beacon Press in 1987).
Many people know that the word robot came from rabota, meaning servant or serf, coined in 1921 by Czech writer Karel Capek
in his play "R.U.R." But the history of robots goes much further back.
On the day I wrote this column, the quote was from the 1923 English translation of Karel Capek
's play Rossum's Universal Robots.
* The word "robot" first appeared in 1921 in R.U.R (Rossum's Universal Robots), a play by Czech playwright Karel Capek
. The word originated from the Czech word "robota," which means forced labor.
Missing from photo: Lisa Hilson, director; Robert Tovar, director and Edward Capek
This was the artist and writer Josef Capek
, brother of the more famous writer Karel, whose Cubist-influenced paintings were on sumptuous display in the gallery of the Municipal House, that gorgeous art nouveau structure lovingly restored in the decade since 1989.
The first four decades of the last century, when many German-speaking citizens, Jewish or Christian, lived in the Czech lands, Prague appears in Mest'an's essays as a kind of "European literary laboratory, from which, with some delay, the glory of Kafka, Franz Werfel, but also of Frantisek Langer, Karel Capek
and Jaroslav Hasek was spread into the world." The author speculates about Czech features in Kafka's life and work, his appreciation of Czech art and culture, and his interest in the Czech classic Bozena Nemcova, whose literary language Kafka greatly admired.