EMIL FRIDA (Jaroslav Vrchlicky) was born on the seventeenth day of February, 1853, in the township of Louny, in Bohemia. His father, Emil Jacob Frida, was a country storekeeper. At the age of ten Emil was sent to the Gymnasium of the Piarists, a secular Gymnasium in Prague, and later to the Gymnasium in Klatov. In 1873, at the age of nineteen, he graduated and entered a theological seminary. Seminary life evidently did not agree with him, for he remained there but a few months and registered in the University of Prague in the Faculty of Filisofy, selecting as his major subjects literature, filology and history. During his university years he formed a friendship with Ernest Denise, the Frenchman, who had come to Prague to study the Bohemians. The two men exchanged lessons, and Denise assisted Vrchlicky in his studies of Hugo and Musset, while the Bohemian helped his friend in the preparation of his historical works, ‘John Hus’ and ‘Le fin de l’Independence de la Boheme’. In 1875 he was licensed as a tutor and appointed the instructor of the two sons of Count Montecuccoli-Laderchi. He went to Italy with his pupils and spent a year near the river Livornia, in Marana, near Modena.
When he returned in 1876 he was already recognized as a great poet. He received many honors at home and abroad. In 1879 he married Ludmila Podlipska, a daughter of Zofie Podlipska, the novelist. Three children were born of this union, Milada, Eva and Jaroslav, all of whom are active in literary circles of Bohemia. In 1901 he and Anton Dvorak received from the Emperor an appointment to the Imperial Council, and were granted an order.
Although he wrote about all parts and literatures of the world, his travels were short lived and not extensive. He died in Domazlice on the ninth day of September, 1912, at the age of fifty-nine.
A law of the Austrian Minesterium of Education prohibits students in the secondary schools from appearing in public life. When young Frida began to publish his poetry he was obliged to use a nom de plume. He chose the name of Vrchlicky, after a rivulet near Kutna Hora. If his name, Jaroslav Vrchlicky, were translated into English it would mean Spring’s Glorifier of the Hills. The pseudonym soon became world-famous, and today he is known only by that name.