Karel Čapek (1890 – 1938)

One of the most influential Czech writers of the 20th century, Karel Čapek is responsible for coining the term ‘robot’ in his science fiction play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots). The play premiered in 1921 and the English language as thus since had the word robot to play with. Although Karel Čapek introduced the word to fiction, the actual accreditation according to Karel belongs to his brother Josef Čapek. Karel Čapek is placed with authors such as Huxley and Orwell in the genre of Speculative Fiction, which overlapped Science Fiction, a genre in which he wrote about mass production, robots, atomic bombs and post-human beings, as well as dictatorships and corruption. His works gained him popularity and fame due to his quick wit and sharp humor, however his commentary against dictatorships and social disasters was not lost on the Gestapo, who named him public enemy number 2 in Czechoslovakia. Even though he was a sought after man, Karel Čapek refused to leave Czechoslovakia and passed away shortly after the Nazi regime annexed Bohemia. He died of pneumonia on Christmas Day of 1938. Karel Čapek’s gravesite is in the Vysehrad National Cemetery. 

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