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Pavel Kohout (1928) - Biography

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I am an optimistic fatalist


Pavel Kohout was born July 20, 1928. He spent his early childhood years in Poland, where his father was working as a general representative for the Praga car company. The family was plagued by unemployment during the economic depression in the 1930s. Pavel Kohout recalls vivid memories from the period of the Munich conference, the occupation and the Prague Uprising. He graduated from secondary school in 1947, then he studied comparative literature, aesthetics and theatre studies at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University. In the 1940s and 1950s he was a poet - apologist of the new regime, a popular poet loved by the masses and intensely involved in the cultural and political issues. In 1951-1952 he was the editor-in-chief of the Dikobraz magazine, from around 1954 he was gradually becoming more alienated from the communist ideology. He actively contributed to the events of 1968, and he held a critical speech on the 4th congress of writers (1967). In 1977 he became a signatory and co-author of Charter 77; in 1979, when returning from an internship in Austria, he was not allowed to re-enter the country, and he was thus forced to live in forced exile. Pavel Kohout is an internationally acclaimed play-writer, poet and prose-writer.

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