Jan Čep was a Czech prose writer, essayist and translator. He was born on December 31st, 1902 in Myšlichovice (now Haňovice - Myslechovice near Litovel), to a family of peasants as the oldest of ten siblings. Jan Čep attended a general school in Cholina, then studied high school in Litovel where he graduated in 1922. At that time he published his first work in the Moravskoslezské Noviny. He studied Czech, English and French at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague. He did not finish his studies, after the first state examination he left for the publishing house, the Old Empire (Stará říše), influenced by Josef Florina, where he helped him for less than a year in publishing. He then lived as a translator and professional writer and worked for the Melantrich and Symposion publishers. Since 1923, he often took study trips to England, Spain, Yugoslavia, but mainly in France. During the war he lived in his birthplace, wrote short stories and maintained close contact with the Dominican spiritual centre in Olomouc. After the war he worked for a publishing house in Vyšehrad. After February 1948 he left Czechoslovakia and lived in Paris. From 1951 to 1955 he worked as a cultural editor of the Czechoslovak editorial office of Radio Free Europe in Munich, later acting as the Parisian cultural correspondent. Through his radio reflections, he tried to confront communist power and spiritually empower people "at home". Outside of his homeland he did not feel happy because he had a very strong relationship with Czechoslovakia. Several times, he seriously thought about becoming a priest, but in 1954 he married Charles Du Bose's daughter, a French literary critic. In 1962 Pope John XXIII gave him the papal Order of Saint Silvester for his lifetime work. He died after suffering a stroke on January 25th, 1974 in Paris.
- Litovel, Czech Republic
Date of death
Author(s) of this page
- Hanáková, Jitka
Slovník české literatury. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.slovnikceskeliteratury.cz/showContent.jsp?docId=296