The Forest in the Works of Karel Klostermann Cover Image

Les v díle Karla Klostermanna
The Forest in the Works of Karel Klostermann

Author(s): Michal Hořejší
Subject(s): Czech Literature
Published by: Památník národního písemnictví
Keywords: disturbance;Karel Klostermann;Bohemian Forest;Bohemian Forest National Park;bark beetle;bark beetle outbreak;

Summary/Abstract: Karel Klostermann (1848‒1923), most of whose Rction is set in the central Bohemian Forest, wrote about the sudden and comprehensive destruction of the original forest ecosystems which had been caused by the unprecedented severe gale of 1870 and then the bark beetle. In an analysis of the picture of the forest formed by two of Klostermann’s novels, Ze světa lesních samot (A world of sylvan solitude, 1891) and V ráji šumavském (The Bohemian Forest paradise, 1893), and by the guide-like Črty ze Šumavy (Bohemian Forest sketches, 1890), the author in this essay demonstrates that Klostermann’s depictions of the environment actually manifest considerable inconsistencies. Klostermann’s general descriptions, for example, regularly conbict with specific descriptions of localities or various interpretations of the cause of the momentous changes. The analysis in this essay also reveals that the story of the death of the ‘old Bohemian Forest’ depends chieby on the ambiguous use of the term prales (old-growth forest), predominantly in the sense of something that is majestic and ancient, and has been left structurally unchanged for centuries. Through this prism, the decline of the forest, which did in fact take place in large parts of the 1870s, could not have been perceived by the writer other than as an unnatural, fatal phenomenon. By comparing selected passages of these works, the article shows that Klostermann does not in fact provide evidence of the decline of the ‘old Bohemian Forest’. Though he was a good observer, Klostermann’s interpretations of the processes and phenomena of nature cannot reasonably be said to constitute relevant documentation.

  • Issue Year: 2019
  • Issue No: 51
  • Page Range: 8-20
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Czech