Czechoslovak Stories/Caroline Světlá
(Born 1830 in Prague. Died 1899, Prague.)
This gifted authoress, whose maiden name was Johanna Rottova, called by Dr. J. Bačkovský the greatest of the more recent novelists devoting themselves almost exclusively to typical Bohemian backgrounds, was the child of a Czech father and a Czech-German mother. She had early to go through a painful nationalistic struggle, being born in sadly backward surroundings, but her marriage at the age of twenty-two to Prof. Peter Mužák strengthened her deep patriotic selfconsciousness. In the home of her husband in the mountains of Ještěd, she first met with the striking and rugged mountaineer types so well described in her collections of stories entitled “Sketches from Ještěd.” She chose her pen name from the name of the mountain village which she so often visited—“Světlá” below Ještěd.
Her first novel “Two Awakenings” was published in 1858. Since then she has been almost feverishly active in her literary effort, bringing out her intense convictions on female education and advancement, national consciousness, and other subjects in a series of many novels and short stories. Chief among her works are “První Češka” (The First Czech Woman), and “Na Úsvitě” (At Dawn) both of which depict the period of the Czech renaissance; "Několik Archů z Rodinné Kroniky” (Some Pages from Family Chronicles), “Lamač a Jeho Dítě” (The Quarryman and His Child), “Vesnický Román” (A Village Romance) and “Kříž u Potoka" (The Cross Beside the Brook),—these latter two dramatized by Eliška Pešková and “Hubička” (The Kiss) dramatized by E. Krásnohorská. “Poslední Paní Hlohovská” (The Last Lady of Hlohov) a novel of the Thirty Years War and of the court of Joseph II, has been translated into English under the title of “Maria Felicia.”
Světlá is always sincere and direct and seldom varies in her style. She has a story to tell that is worth reading and in no case does she tax the limits of plausibility to induce interest. Her stories are of her own people, in whose happiness she rejoiced, in whose sufferings she sorrowed.