Bohumil Hrabal

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Bohumil Hrabal (Czech pronunciation: [ˈboɦumɪl ˈɦrabal]) (28 March 1914, Brno - 3 February 1997, Prague) was a Czech writer, regarded as one of the best writers of the 20th century.[citation needed]


Life and work

Bohumil Hrabal was born in Brno (Balbínova ul. 47, Židenice district [1]) in what was then the province of Moravia in the Austro-Hungarian empire to an unmarried mother, Marie Božena Kiliánová (b. 1894-d. 10 February 1970). According to the organisers of a recent Hrabal exhibition in Brno, his biological father was “probably” Bohumil Blecha (b.1893-d, 1970), who was a year older than Marie, a friend from the neighbourhood and the son of a teacher. Marie’s parents opposed the idea of their daughter marrying Blecha, who was about to enter the imperial army[1][2]. Blecha served on the Italian front, before being invalided out of service[2][3]. Blecha’s daughter, Drahomíra Blechová-Kalvodová, says her father told her when she was 18 that Hrabal was her half-brother. Bohumil and his biological father never met formally, according to Blechová-Kalvodová[2]. Hrabal and Blechová-Kalvodová met twice; a dedication in a picture from 1994 says: "To sister Drahomíra, Hrabal! 28. 3. 94." [2]

Hrabal was baptized Bohumil František Kilián. Until the age of three, he lived principally with his grandparents, Kateřina Kiliánová (née Bartlová)(d. 1950)[1][4] and Tomáš Kilián (d. 1925, a descendant of a French soldier injured at the battle of Austerlitz, on the outskirts of Brno)[3][4], in Brno while his mother worked in Polná as an assistant book-keeper in the town's brewery. She worked there with her future husband, František Hrabal (b. 1889-d. 5 June 1966); a František Hrabal was listed as Bohumil's godfather when he was baptized on 4 February 1914, but František was also the first name of Bohumil's future step-grandfather, a soft-drinks trader. František Hrabal, Hrabal’s stepfather, was a friend of Hrabal’s probable biological father, according to Blechová-Kalvodová.

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