Karel Jaromír Erben (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarɛl ˈjaromiːr ˈɛrbɛn]; 7 November 1811 – 21 November 1870) was a Czech folklorist and poet of the mid-19th century, best known for his collection Kytice (Czech: Bouquet), which contains poems based on traditional and folkloric themes.
He also wrote Písně národní v Čechách (Folk Songs of Bohemia) which contains 500 songs and Prostonárodní české písně a říkadla (Czech Folk Songs and Nursery Rhymes), a five-part book that brings together most of Czech folklore.
He was born on November 7, 1811 in Miletín near Jičín. He went to college in Hradec Králové. Then, in 1831, he went to Prague where he studied philosophy and later law. He started working in the National Museum (Národní muzeum) with František Palacký in 1843. He became editor of a Prague's newspaper in 1848. Two years later, in 1850, he became archives' secretary of the National Museum. He died on November 21, 1870 of tuberculosis.
As practitioner of his ideals, he published Sto prostonárodních pohádek a pověstí slovanských v nářečích původních (One Hundred Slavic Folk Tales and Legends in Original Dialects), also known by its subtitle Čitanka slovanská (Slavic Reader), that was influenced by the Grimms' collection of fairy tales. It included such pieces as tale No. 2, "Dlouhý, Široký a Bystrozraký" ("Long, Broad and Sharpsight", translated into English by Albert Henry Wratislaw). The entire volume was translated by W. W. Strickland, and eventually published as Panslavonic Folk-lore in 1930.
He is also considered an imporant poet of the Czech literary Romanticism in the mid-19th century, with his collection of a dozen literary ballads entitled Kytice z pověstí národních (A Bouquet of Folk Legends, 1853).
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