Historie – Otázky – Problémy

Kryštof Harant the intellectual and his literary work as a means of self-presentation


Abstract: The study abandons the traditional interpretation of Harants work which places it among travel books, and takes a fresh look at his work as a so-called ego-document. The aim of such a strategy is to reconstruct the ways of the author’s self-presentation, whether it was purposeful, unintentional or even unwanted. Harant presents himself as an experienced, well-travelled man, capable of distinguishing a private pleasure gained from visits to foreign lands from the objective importance of travel. In this context, he greatly appreciates the virtues of those Czech noblemen, who (as well as him) were educated and well-travelled, but (in contrast to him) had already achieved a great career at the royal court and in the hierarchy of land officials. Besides his intellectual capacities, he also emphasizes his physical condition, his readiness, sobriety and cold-bloodedness. If we summarize these features, considered by Harant as dominant in his self-presentation, we find ourselves face to face with a broadly educated, physically strong and self-assured man, who can cope with any situation. He himself perceives his personal qualities as well as his experiences gained in foreign lands as an integral part of the prerequisites for a future career. He is ready to take up any tasks entrusted to him by the Sovereign and to adopt a position in society which would correspond to his unquestionable qualities. His book is not only a book of travel, but also an impressive self-portrait.

Key words: Kryštof Harant, Renaissance travel-book, ego-documents, author’s self-presentation

Doc. Mgr. Marie Koldinská, Ph.D., docentka Ústavu českých dějin FF UK a vědecká pracovnice Kabinetu dějin vědy Ústavu pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR, v. v. i. ( marie.koldinska@sendme.cz)