100 years has passed since Jiří Veltruský’s birth. The ATI has prepared the second edition of his book Contributions to Theatre Theory

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The Prague Linguistic Circle and Theatre Research Society organized the Day for Jiří Veltruský on Saturday June 1, 2019 in Prague. The date of 5th June marked one hundred years since the birth of the outstanding Czech semiotician, aesthetician, theatre theoretician and political researcher. This year’s 31st May was the 25th anniversary of his death. The anniversary was the opportunity for the Arts and Theatre Institute (ATI) to prepare the second publication of the collection of his theatre research studies called Contributions to Theatre Theory.

The homage to Jiří Veltruský paid on the occasion of anniversaries related to the life of the outstanding figure of Czech theatre reached its peak on 1st June 2019 with the commemorative event The Day for Jiří Veltruský organized by the Prague Linguistic Circle and the Theatre Research Society. It accentuated the critical reflection of his activities, memories of his contemporaries and himself.

The ATI has contributed to Jiří Veltruský’s homage with the second edition of the collection of his theatre research studies Contributions to Theatre Theory, edited by Jana Patočková. The first part of the book contains papers dedicated to the Prague School and “avant la lettre” theatre semiology, other parts deal with several general problems of theatre theory (including the classical study A Person and Object in Theatre) as well as relations between drama and a theatre performance. The most comprehensive part is the section with comparative studies on the semiology of acting and puppet theatre. The book also contains theoretical analyses of several theatre productions and a comprehensive bibliography of author’s works, which was completed for this publication.

The IDU has one more reason to remember Jiří Veltruský. In 2005 the ATI Library received a big book gift of almost 500 items from his wife Jarmila F. Veltrusky, who specialized in medieval theatre. Thus, the book collection was enriched by a unique collection of international theatre-related literature.

Veltruský was the member of the Prague Linguistic Circle, he was also active in the Youth Theatre Collective. His texts followed the ideas of Otakar Zich and the Prague School (Mukařovský, Honzl, Jakobson, Bogatyrev) and he later developed the concepts based on semiology. After the Nazi closed universities, he worked as an editor in a publishing house and a laborer. He participated in the anti-Nazi resistance led by social democrats, he worked for the Central Trade Union Board after the liberation, but the Communist management removed him. After 1948 he emigrated to Austria and he was later based in France. He worked as a political journalist in the Voice of America or in French magazines Oedipe, La Révolution prolétarienne and Le Contrat social. He was also an official at the International Confederation of Free Trade for a long time. Using the pseudonyms of Daniel Simon or Pavel Bartoň / Paul Barton, he published dozens of essays about Soviet concentration camps, labor movements as well as the social and political situation in the East. He was a brave fighter for democratic values.