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372 NOVÁKOVÁ (born Lanhausová), Teréza (1853–1912) Czech feminist, writer, ethnographer and editor of Ženský svět (Women’s world); cofounder of the Ženský klub český (Czech Women’s Club). Pseudonyms: ‘Lona,’ ‘Thea’ and ‘N. T. Fedorovič.’ Teréza Lanhausová was born on 31 December 1853, into a wealthy middleclass Czech–German family from Prague (her mother, Ernestina, was German). Along with her sister Marie, she attended the famous private Amerling school for girls, where she acquired the basic knowledge of foreign languages that she would later develop through additional private education. In 1876, she married Josef Novák (1847–1907), a liberal secondary school teacher. Five of her six children died young; only her son Arne reached adulthood to become a significant historian of Czech literature (whose work was also translated into English). In 1876, her husband received a teaching post in the eastern Bohemian town of Litomy šl. Though it was a provincial cultural center at that time, Teréza Nováková missed the literary and intellectual environment of Prague. After several years of living in Litomyšl, during which she gave birth to five of her six children (the sixth born later in Prague), Nováková became interested in folk culture and also began organizing local middle-class women in the Spolek paní a dívek (Association of Ladies and Girls). The importance of Litomyšl to Nováková is reflected in her ethnographic studies, which she later incorporated into her novels. She was inspired by the work of Karolína Světlá, whom she came to think of as a literary and intellectual mother figure after meehing her in the days before Nováková’s marriage, when the two women had worked together in Prague for the Americký klub dam (American Ladies’ Club), founded in 1865 by Vojtěch Náprstek (1826–1894). Nováková dedicated one of her first articles to Světlá and wrote her literary biography in 1890. While in Litomyšl, she produced numerous short stories and novels depicting conventional middle-class life, published in the collection Z naší národní společnosti (From our national society, 1887). In her Maloměstský román (A small-town novel, 1890), she turned to realism in an attempt to condemn what she thought of as the insular national idealization of 373 Czech society. She eventually became so fond of Litomyšl, surrounded by the foothills of the Orlické Mountains, that she bought a cottage there, in the village of Proseč. But the years to follow would see the sad loss of her husband and no less than five of her children: her first child Marie died in 1895; her beloved son Theodor drowned in 1901, František Vladimír committed suicide and her daughter Lily died in 1905, she lost her husband Josef in 1907 and Jaroslav, her youngest son, fell in 1915 during World War I. Nováková would later call her home “the gloomiest cottage in the world” (see Svadbová 1988). Her ethnographic studies, the results of trips to the eastern Bohemian countryside, were published in the periodical Domací hospodyně (Housewife). Inspired by peasant and folk culture while addressing a modern, middle-class female readership, the journal contained articles on a broad range of topics from ethnography to education. Novakova published educational articles for Domací hospodyně in a column headed “Hovory po práci” (Talks after work). She collected folk costumes and embroidery and also contributed to Český lid (The Czech people), a journal established by the founder of Czech modern positivist ethnography, Čeněk Zíbrt. Nováková was particularly interested in the Evangelical–Catholic border region that lay between Bohemia and Moravia. In her longest and in terms of composition, most complex novel, Děti čistého živého (Children of pure subsistence, 1909), she explored the harsh treatment meted out in this region to religious heretics of the reformist sectarian church: “the children of the spirit of pure subsistence.” Her articles for Domací hospodyně, particularly the regular column “Hovory po práci,” did not contain radical ideas on women and their position in the family—at least not initially. Yet by the early 1890s, Teréza Nováková had published two important studies of women’s social status. In the first, “J. S. Millovo Poddanství žen” (On J. S. Mill’s The Subjection of Women), Nováková expounded on Mill’s concepts of freedom and responsibility with regard to women. In the second, “L. N. Tolstojova Kreutzrova...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9786155053726
Related ISBN
9789637326394
MARC Record
OCLC
868217084
Pages
698
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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