Author: Xavier Galmich
Sorbonne, Paris 4
Translation from French by Elena Guetova
Published in Slavyanski dialozi, XVII, 2020, 26

Abstract: This paper intends to present the wide panorama of alternative spirituality as a basic feature of modern Czech culture. Although the image of Czechia as the most dechristianized country in Europe is very popular, this must be considered a stereotype. Despite the fact that the secularization of Czech society and culture has been a long-term process, the metaphysical thirst which could not be manifested in the culture has not been eradicated. Instead, it has been redirected towards new forms of searching of transcendence. The author of this article argues that there is an “underground river” of Catholicism in the relationship one can have with the sacred in everyday life. Analyzing different examples of literary works, he shows how Czech writers are rooted in spiritual tradition, even those who are not associated with this idea (e.g. Karel Čapek). Other examples of “classic” Czech authors are also given in the text that show how sensitive they were to spirituality and transcendence. Although such writers as Vítězslav Nezval reduced or marginalized spirituality, this tendency was balanced by artists who manifested their metaphysical needs (e.g. Vladimír Holan and his “metaphysical existentialism”).
Key words: alternative spirituality, Karel Čapek, Vítězslav Nezval, Vladimír