Jaroslav Seifert
Jaroslav Seifert 1981 photo Hana Hamplová
Jaroslav Seifert 1981
photo Hana Hamplová
Born(1901-09-23)23 September 1901
Žižkov, Prague, Austria-Hungary
Died10 January 1986(1986-01-10) (aged 84)
Prague, Czechoslovakia
OccupationWriter, poet, journalist
Notable awardsNobel Prize in Literature

Jaroslav Seifert (Czech: [ˈjaroslaf ˈsajfr̩t] ; 23 September 1901 – 10 January 1986) was a Czech writer, poet and journalist. Seifert was awarded the 1984 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his poetry which endowed with freshness, sensuality and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man".[1]


Born in Žižkov, a suburb of Prague in what was then part of Austria-Hungary, Seifert's first collection of poems was published in 1921. He was a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), the editor of a number of communist newspapers and magazines – Rovnost, Sršatec, and Reflektor – and the employee of a communist publishing house.

During the 1920s he was considered a leading representative of the Czechoslovak artistic avant-garde. He was one of the founders of the journal Devětsil. In March 1929, he and six other writers left the KSČ after signing a manifesto protesting against Bolshevized Stalinist-influenced tendencies in the new leadership of the party. He subsequently worked as a journalist in the social-democratic and trade union press during the 1930s and 1940s.

In 1949 Seifert left journalism and began to devote himself exclusively to literature. His poetry was awarded important state prizes in 1936, 1955, and 1968, and in 1967 he was designated National Artist. He was the official Chairman of the Czechoslovak Writer's Union for several years (1968–70). In 1977 he was one of the signatories of Charter 77 in opposition to the government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.[2]

Seifert was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1984. Due to bad health, he was not present at the award ceremony, and so his daughter accepted the Nobel Prize in his name. Even though it was a matter of great importance, there was only a brief remark of the award in the state-controlled media. He died in 1986, aged 84, and was buried at the municipal cemetery in Kralupy nad Vltavou (where his maternal grandparents originated from).

His burial was marked by a high presence of secret police, who tried to suppress any hint of dissent on the part of mourners.[3]


Jaroslav Seifert with daughter Jana, 1931


  1. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1984". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 2 Feb 2017.
  2. ^ Wilson, Amrit (1 February 1986). "News & notes". Index on Censorship. 15 (2): 3–6. doi:10.1080/03064228608534032. ISSN 0306-4220. S2CID 220929273.
  3. ^ "Dissidents And Authorities Say Farewell To Nobel Laureate". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 23 September 2021.