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Department of Romance Studies

Main research activities

Our teams of literary scholars have recently obtained an important research grant “Attempting the Renaissance of the West: the Literary and Intellectual Climate at the Turn of the 20th Century” financed by the Czech Science Foundation. The project focuses on Western Literature of the late 19th and early 20th century, a period previously studied only from the perspective of national literatures. From the comparative point of view, it analyses a supranational literary and intellectual movement unified by a shared need of Modernist revision, albeit reflected in different ways in different countries. Conclusions will be summarized in two foreign language monographs, intended as a contribution to the international academic debate. A third collective monograph will offer Czech scholars the first comprehensive survey of the literatures of the period. Our interdisciplinary team will comprise researchers from the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, Prague, including the youngest generation of Ph.D. and Post-Doctoral researchers and invited foreign specialists. The aim of this interdisciplinary research is to encourage a reappraisal of fin-de-siècle literature and an appreciation of the importance of the period to our understanding of contemporary Western culture.

The Department’s major linguistic initiative includes a team projects entitled “Romance Languages in the Light of Language Corpora” – verifying conclusions made by modern linguistics through corpora of Romance languages. The most important output of this project is a collective monograph Románské jazyky a čeština ve svelte paralelních korpusů (to be published by the end of 2015). This unique publication analyses 4 structurally different phenomena in the Romance languages and, with the help of the parallel corpus InterCorp, studies their possible translations into Czech offering, thus, a fresh, different and modern approach to contrastive studies. Preparations of the monograph took three years and the collective of authors includes both experienced academics from the Institute and young Ph.D. and post-doc researches.

Major Publication Projects

The Department of Romance Studies coordinates the publication of a renewed version of Romanistica Pragensia (the first volume appearing in 2009). Romanistica Pragensia is an important platform for Czech and European researches in Romance languages and literatures. Recent volumes (2013 and 2015) were monothematic and approached selected topics – volume XIX dealt with different aspects of Romance languages from the perspective of language corpora; volume XX (2015) was dedicated to the literature of fin de siècle. The Department has long been guarantor of the journal Svět literatury. Časopis pro novodobé literatury (World of Literature – Journal of Modern Literatures). By emphasising a supranational comparative approach the journal helps integrate literary studies, and members of our Department contribute as editors, reviewers and authors. Both above cited journals are listed in the ERIH database and they represent also an important opportunity for young Ph.D. researches to publish their best articles. Apart from these platforms, our academics constantly publish articles in important Czech and international journals (e.g. Časopis pro moderní filologii, Linguistica Pragensia, Slovo a smysl – Word and Sense, Ibero-Americana Pragensia, La linguistique, Itinerários, Verbum, Res Diachronicae, Nuova Antologia, etc.).

In the last few years, several major monographs have been published:

  • Zuzana Krinková – From Iberian Romani to Iberian Para-Romani Varieties (2015)
  • Eva Blinková Pelánová – Německá inspirace v díle Gérarda de Nerval (2014)
  • Lucie Núñez Tayupanta – Reflexe indiánského světa v hispanoamerickém eseji 20. století (2014)
  • Jaroslav Štichauer – Etudes sur la formation des mots en francais préclassique et classique (2014)
  • Juan Sánchez et al. – La cuestión autibiográfica en el Siglo de Oro (2013)
  • Lucie Tučková – Suzanne Renaud, Petrkov 13 (2013)
  • Petr Čermák – Jan Čermák – Claudio Poeta – Pražský lingvistický kroužek v dokumentech (2012)
  • Juan Sánchez – La tesitura de la Celestina (2012)
  • Joaquim Ramos – Introdução ao Português Jurídico (2012)
  • Eva Voldřichová Beránková – Učiňme člověka ke svému obrazu. Pygmalion, Golem a automat jako tři verze mýtu o umělém stvoření (nejen) v Budoucí Evě Villierse de l’Isle-Adam (2012).

Our academics are also involved in literary translation of important Spanish, Hispano-American, Portuguese, Luso-Brazilian, Italian and French writing authors (Mario Vargas Llosa, Umberto Eco, Alessandro Baricco, Arthur Rimbaud, and many others). Department of Romance studies support conference activities of both academic staff and students.

In the academic years 2015/16 and 2016/17, several important events are to take place at the Institute. In October of 2015, the Spanish section (in cooperation with the Institute of Translation Studies) organizes a conference Las palabras (des)atadas. Its main goal is to present the recent research in Spanish linguistics and literatures providing space for exchanging ideas among the best researchers from the Czech Republic and, also, from abroad (several participants are expected from Spain, Poland, Rumania, China, etc.). This conference also gives place to the youngest researches (Ph.D. students and post-docs).

In 2016, two important anniversaries will be celebrated – the 400th anniversary of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega’s death and the 100th anniversary of Rubén Dario’s death. 2015 and 2016 are, of course, also the years when we commemorate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the second part of Don Quijote (1615) and the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death (1616). Thus, several activities are planned as to remember and celebrate those great writers of the Spanish language.