Daniela Hodrová

Daniela Hodrová

Literary theorist, poet and prose writer, translator. Winner of the State Award for Literature (2011), Franz Kafka Prize (2012) and Magnesia Litera for best book of the year (2016). Her books have been published in a number of languages including English, German, French, Bulgarian and Polish. She was born in Prague on 5 July 1946.


Title Publisher Year Selected published translations Awards
What is revealed; Essays about Adriena Šimotová (Co se vyjevuje; Eseje o Adrieně Šimotové) Malvern 2015
Spiral sentences (Točité věty) Malvern 2015  2016 Magnesia Litera – Book of the Year
The Novel of Initiation (Román zasvěcení) Malvern 2014
In Praise of Curling Up: Essays on the Poetics of Transience (Chvála schoulení: Eseje z poetiky pomíjivosti) Malvern 2011
Invocation (Vyvolávání) Malvern 2010  2011 State Award for Literature
I See a City... (Město vidím...) Pavel Mervart 2009 PL | EN | IT | FR
The Sensible City (Citlivé město) Akropolis 2006
Comedy (Komedie) Torst 2003
City of Torment (Trýznivé město) Hynek 1999
Lost Children (Ztracené děti) Hynek 1997
Places with a Secret (Místa s tajemstvím) Koniasch Latin Press 1994
Perun’s Day (Perunův den) Hynek 1994
The Novel of Initiation (Román zasvěcení) H+H 1993
I See a City... (Město vidím...) Euroslavica 1992 PL | EN | IT | FR
A Kingdom of Souls (Podobojí) Severočeské nakladatelství 1991 EN | IT | PL | DE | FR
Cocoons (Kukly) Práce 1991 FR | DE
Théta Československý spisovatel 1991 FR | DE
In Search of the Novel (Hledání románu) Československý spisovatel 1989
Co se vyjevuje; Eseje o Adrieně Šimotové
What is revealed; Essays about Adriena Šimotová
Co se vyjevuje; Eseje o Adrieně Šimotové
Spiral sentences
Točité věty
Román zasvěcení
The Novel of Initiation
Román zasvěcení
In Praise of Curling Up: Essays on the Poetics of Transience
Chvála schoulení: Eseje z poetiky pomíjivosti
Invocation
Vyvolávání
I See a City...
Město vidím...
Citlivé město
The Sensible City
Citlivé město
Komedie
Comedy
Komedie
Trýznivé město
City of Torment
Trýznivé město
Ztracené děti
Lost Children
Ztracené děti
Místa s tajemstvím
Places with a Secret
Místa s tajemstvím
Perunův den
Perun’s Day
Perunův den
Román zasvěcení
The Novel of Initiation
Román zasvěcení
I See a City...
Město vidím...
Kukly
Cocoons
Kukly
Théta
Théta
Hledání románu
In Search of the Novel
Hledání románu
Award Year Country
Magnesia Litera – Book of the Year 2016 Česká republika
Franz Kafka Prize 2012 Česká republika
State Award for Literature 2011 Česká republika
Praise
It would be a shame to be afraid of Daniela Hodrová. With her prose, the reader is plunged into a pleasant, stationary timelessness. For the writer, capturing the feelings of the characters is much more important than strictly observing the ticking away of the hours. In this respect, and in others, she resembles the English writer Virginia Woolf, who found inspiration in another noisy European metropolis, London.
—Klára Kolářová
Reflex

She graduated in Czech, Russian and French. She worked as an editor at Odeon and in the department of literary theory at the Czechoslovak Academy of Science’s Institute for Czech Literature, which she headed for a number of years. Her works range from fiction to literary-science essays and she writes for discerning readers. Each of her novels expands and elaborates upon her research from previous works.

She published her first poems in magazines in the sixties, and her first book was the literary-science work Hledání románu (In Search of the Novel), which builds on her earlier theoretical works in which she explored the boundaries, limits and possibilities of the novel. Her most important books include Román zasvěcení (The Novel of Initiation, H+H, 1993) and the trilogy Trýznivé město (City of Torment): Podobojí (A Kingdom of Souls), Kukly (Chrysalides/Masks), Théta (Theta, Hynek, 1999), in which she wanders through Prague across space and time; as well as literary and historical references, here she deals with the death of those close to her, especially her two husbands.

The novel Komedie (Comedy, Torst, 2003) follows on from this trilogy. Here the Olšany Cemetery, which the author lived opposite as a child, became the site for the author’s encounters with people from her life. In a similar vein is Vyvolávání (Invocation, Malvern, 2010): “Vyvolávání is a text which cannot easily be categorized in terms of genre. We certainly cannot speak of a traditional novel – the narrative element plays a far from central role and the reader cannot expect a single, unified story. Here the genre of the novel blends with others and the text can also be described to some extent as an essay or even a memoir. The usual storyline is missing and is replaced by a sort of colourful mosaic which is composed of smaller units – short tales, scenes or just thoughts and memories captured in a word,” writes Ladislav Nagy on the iLiteratura.cz website. Daniela Hodrová’s latest prose work is Točité věty (Spiral Sentences, Malvern, 2014), in which the author again thematizes the novel, creation and death – now the loved ones she has lost include the artist Adriena Šimotová and the writer Bohumila Grögerová.

From her essays and theoretical works it is worth mentioning the collections Poetika míst (The Poetics of Places, H+H, 1997) in which, together with her co-authors, she deals with important places in 19th- and 20th-century literature, such as the castle, cottage, pub, school and educational space, prison, church and religious space, factory, tower or bedroom in Czech literature, which she compares with the context of world literature. Kniha …na okraji chaosu… (A Book…on the Brink of Chaos…, Torst, 2001) is another work by Hodrová and her colleagues; across almost nine hundred pages they analyze the landscape of the modern European novel. The essays on the poetics of ephemerality Chvála schoulení (In Praise of Curling Up, Malvern, 2011) examine the spiritual horizons of the contemporary western individual. The lengthy “essays on mythopoeia” with the title Citlivé město (The Sensible City, Akropolis, 2006) view Prague as a benign labyrinth similar to a mandala.

Notable awards
 2016 Magnesia Litera – Book of the Year
 2012 Franz Kafka Prize
 2011 State Award for Literature
Contacts
E: hodrova@ucl.cas.cz