Found in translation. Emil Saudek and Jewish-Czech-German interaction in the "creative environment" of Vienna

Project code
Project type
Standardní projekty
Year of start
Year of completion
Researcher in MÚA
Lucie Merhautová
Masarykův ústav a Archiv AV ČR
Institut pro studium literatury

Team members:

  • Masaryk Institute and Archives of the CAS: Lucie Merhautová (researcher), Ines Koeltzsch, Vratislav Doubek, Václav Petrbok
  • Institute for the Study of Literature: Michal Topor (co-investigator), Josef Vojvodík, Štěpán Zbytovský, Anežka Libánská

The project focuses on translation and cultural transfers, using the example of Emil Saudek, a prominent translator of Otokar Březina, J. S. Machar, Vojtěch Rakous and T. G. Masaryk, in the context of the "creative environment" of Vienna in the first quarter of the 20th century. The subject of the research is Jewish-Czech-German interactions, the intermingling and linking of different groups and circles through translation, both in the field of art and politics in Vienna and in literature between Vienna, Prague and other spaces (Berlin, Leipzig, the Highlands, Brno, etc.).

We will examine translation both as a means of Saudek's socio-cultural integration and in its significance for the development of Czech and German literature, especially at the moment of aesthetic transformations around 1910. We will trace the formation of Saudek's concept of Vienna as a "bridge to Europe" for Czech literature and the changes in the convergence program caused both by World War I and 1918 and by the transformations of aesthetic modernism (Symbolism, Expressionism, post-war avant-garde).

Main planned book outputs:

  • An edition of articles and documents that will introduce his translation and organizational activities, his spiritual horizon and his extensive network of contacts to Czech-reading readers,
  • a German collective monograph that will present Emil Saudek in various historical, cultural and literary contexts.

The results of the project on behalf of the MÚA AV ČR:



  • Michal Topor: Emil Saudek or Homo translatorus. In: Slovo a smysl - Word & Sense, 2019, 16, no. 31, 101-122.
  • Lucie Merhautová: Mauer, oder Brücke? Deutsch-tschechische Vermittlungskonzepte am Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts am Beispiel der Zeitschriften Das Literarische Echo und die Čechische Revue. In: Arnošt Kraus. Ed. S. Höhne - V. Petrbok, Böhlau: Wien (in press).
  • Lucie Merhautová: Service to the New State? Emil Saudek and Camill Hoffmann as Translators of T. G. Masaryk's Texts. In: Zeitschrift für Slavische Philologie (in press).
  • Texts by Emil Saudek with an introductory commentary published bilingually in the Czech-German e-forum of the Institute for the Study of Literature:
  • Emil Saudek: Naše poslání (Epistle to those who did not slack off), Kalendář česko-židovský 38, 1918-1919, Prague: Spolek českých akademiků židů, 1918, pp. 52-56.
  • Emil Saudek: Kulturbastard (On Hugo Sonnenschein), Slavisches Tagblatt 2, 26 February 1911, no. 91, p. [1], 28 February, no. 92, p. [1]-2; signed by Dr. Emil Saudek.

Activity in 2018:

  • Bibliography of articles and translations (excerpts in journals and newspapers),
  • processing the estate of Emil Saudek,
  • archival research in the Czech Republic and in foreign archives,
  • transcriptions of correspondence and printed texts.

Activities in 2019:

  • Organisation of the international conference Found in translation? The aesthetic and sociocultural functions of literary translation in Europe between 1890 and 1939 in cooperation with the Austrian Cultural Forum in Prague (30-31 May 2019);
  • Excerpts in a number of periodicals and compiling a bibliography of articles and translations;
  • transcriptions and editing of articles and correspondence;
  • preparation of a Czech-language monograph (layout, texts);
  • preparation of several scientific studies;
  • working trips of the research team members to Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Erfurt; to regional archives in Jihlava, Ždár nad Sázavou, etc.

Events within the project "Found in Translation"


  • 17. 4. 2018

Lucie Merhautová presented Emil Saudek's translation activities in her lecture "Wien als Brücke nach Europa" at the Austrian Cultural Forum. Emil Saudek und die Wiener Literaten, which took place as part of a lecture series organised in cooperation with the RKF and the Kurt Krolop Forschungsstelle für deutsch-böhmische Literatur. The moderator of the evening was Štěpán Zbytovský, and excerpts from Saudek's translations of works by O. Březina, J. S. Machar and O. Fischer were read by German studies students Barbora Bendíková and Ladislav Bílý. The lecture focused mainly on Saudek's translation of the highly symbolist poetry collection The Hands of Otakar Březina and its reception by Viennese and German writers (S. Zweig, H. Bahr, R. Dehmel, etc.).

  • 19. 4. 2018

The Masaryk Institute and the Archives of the CAS managed to acquire the estate of Emil Saudek under a deposit agreement. Among the documents are letters by Otokar Březina, Růžena Svobodová, Emanuel Chalupný, J. S. Machar and T. G. Masaryk, as well as a number of manuscripts, translations and family photographs. We are very grateful to Prof. František Saudek for making them available.


  • 30. - 31. 5. 2019

International Conference Found in translation? Aesthetic and socio-cultural functions of literary translation between 1890 and 1939 in Europe.

  • 21. 9. 2019

Lucie Merhautová presented a paper on Czech literary modernism at the turn of the 19th and 20th century at the Rainer Maria Rilke conference. Prager Erzählungen, organized by the Rilke Gesellschaft in Friedberg, Bavaria.

  • 29. 10. 2019

In her lecture Vermittelte Moderne, Lucie Merhautová addressed the topic of intermediaries and translations of Czech literature into German in Vienna, focusing in particular on a comparison of the activities of Eduard Albert and Emil Saudek. The lecture was held at the invitation of the Adalbert Stifter Verein in Munich.

  • 18. 11. 2019

Lucie Merhautová, Michal Topor and Václav Petrbok presented a grant project at the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the CAS as part of a series of research seminars.