Karel Havlicek: (1821-1856) The First Modern Czech Journalist
Karel Havlicek was born in 1821 in the small village of Borova. After finishing secondary school, he joined and studied to become a priest at the Archbishop Seminary in Prague. However, his dissenting attitude and creative thinking led him to question the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and after one year, he dropped out of the seminary to become a journalist and politician.
Havlicek wrote several articles to encourage independent thinking, challenging the aggressive Austrian regime. In 1848, he began publishing an opposition newspaper, Nardni Listy, which was later banned, which led him to publish the anti-Austrian and anti-religious magazine, The Slovan.
In the final issue of The Slovan, he wrote: “Anyone who knows the slightest bit of history and the ways of the world must also know that no political party, no nation can prevail by any means other than its own inner strength and the respect it has managed to win for itself, for which reason anyone working to make a free nation will do best to promote its inner strength. The inner strength of a nation, however, depends upon how well educated, sound, rational, upstanding, and moral it is, and anyone promoting these qualities in his nation will best serve its future freedom. Let each of us do so in his home, in his immediate surroundings, and no power shall be able to restrain us.”
His three major works are epic poems - King Lavra, an allegorical fairy tale, The Tyrolean Elegies,and The Baptism of Saint Vladimir, a political pamphlet.
Barbara K. Reinfeld, Karl Havlicek, 1821-1856: A National Leader of the Czech Renaissance (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981)