Prague cafés retain splendor of another age




“When the great actor Norinski entered the National Café, which is located in front of Prague’s Czech Theater, at three o’clock in the afternoon, he started a little – but then immediately smiled his most disdainful smile.” This is the opening line of the short story “King Bohush” by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, in which he parodies the Czech intellectual scene through the title character of an ill-fated hunchback. The haunt depicted is none other than Prague’s famous Café Slavia, a favorite of artistic and intellectual Czech society from its opening in 1881 to the present day.




The vital role played by Prague cafés in intellectual history goes beyond the sphere of the Czech capital and nation to a truly global prominence. The most notable figure in this respect is Franz Kafka, though the city’s café-goers have included a wide variety of artists, philosophers, novelists and the Czech Republic’s first president, Václav Havel.

Read the whole article at Czech Position

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Categories: Literary History

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