Jan Malura

The Prayers of Kašpar Motěšický

 

     The analysis of literary life in individual centres of exile after White Mountain battle and interpretation of significant writers in this field belongs to literary-historical tasks of present Czech studies. Lutheran Kašpar Motěšický (born in Těšín circa 1640, died 1689) devoted substantial part of his life and his literary activity to Žitava, one of the key centres of the White Mountain aftermath emigration. As a writer he was representing three typical figures of Czech baroque literature, i.e. homiletics, hymnography and prayer prose. Above all the study deals with Ruční knížka (The Handlebook), Motesicky´s most important work.(first published in 1687 in Žitava, many other editions in the same place, even by the well-known V. Klejcha), it shows comparisons of individual editions. It is a book of songs (partially original, partially translated from German, or taken over from earlier evangelic sources) and particularly prayers that are given most of attention. The work surveys the sources of texts (for instance it reveals extracts from Komensky´s translation of Praxis pietatis), their general subjects (sinfulness, a focus on a wide spectrum of intimate situations of a human being, but also on the reflection of difficult status of Czech exiles), stylistics (application of rhetorical figures) and metaphoric (e.g. pictures of body parts). A special attention is given to links of Motěšický´s prayers to biblical pretext; it describes individual sorts of inter-textuality. As an appendix, there is an edition of few Kašpar Motěšický´s prayers, prepared by Pavel Kosek.