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‘At thepresent time, it is worth mentioning the Kutná Hora Epistles by Karel Havliček.’ The First Biographer of Karel Havlíček, Ludwig Rittersberg


Karel Havlíček (1821–1856), a Czech journalist and literally a symbol of Czech journalism, has been studied by countless authors in texts of various scope and importance. Nevertheless, the journalist and writer Ludwig Rittersberg (1809–1858) will always remain the first to have extensively summarised Havlíček’s life and devoted further attention to him in his Kapesní slovníček novinářský a konverzační [A Pocket Dictionary of Journalism and Conversation], at the time when both Havlíček himself and his work had suffered from actions on the part of the authorities.

Rittersberg admitted that he had not been Havlíček’s absolute ideological supporter during the revolution of 1848 and 1849, yet he presented Havlíček’s professional career, opinions and life story to his readers in his work with considerable respect. Not only did he devote a relatively extensive entry to him, but he also referred to him in other entries. Rittersberg used such a comparison to describe expressively the situation at the time or the political situation gaining ground after the defeat of the revolution of 1848 and 1849, but also the contemporary situation in the press.

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