Prague of the National Revival

Where does the road from ethnicity to a modern political nation lead? Must a nation necessarily be defined by one common language? In the past, the inhabitants of the Czech lands were offered other values based on which they could unite and form a unified community.

Is it possible to equate the history of the Czech lands exclusively with that of the Czech nation? Right up to the eve of the 1848 revolution, it seemed that the joint aim of Czechs and Germans was to promote the ideal of freedom and a change of the political and social organisation of the monarchy. From the end of the 18th century, what had been a provincial patriotism based on the relationship with a common homeland and past, regardless of mother tongue, was gradually replaced by an identity centred around language. The ideas espoused by Bernard Bolzano – a united nation in Bohemia, a community of equals, free citizens who, despite speaking a diversity of languages, would strive for the same common good – were merely an illusion given the circumstances of the time. Czech nationality was already determined by language, and the first weeks of the revolution revealed how fundamentally different the social and political interests of the two national identities defined in this way were. 

Jan Bouček

German speaking writers in Prague

Jewish writers of Prague

Josef Jungmann

Bernand Bolzano

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