Jaroslav Goll and His Followers

One Topic, Many Points of View

Summary of the Proceedings


The "Jaroslav Goll and His Followers" proceedings are based on a conference of the same name held in České Budějovice on 6 - 8 April 2005. In line with a grant provided by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, the aim of the conference was to map out the so-called Goll's School phenomenon from different points of view and in particular to take a new look at the Goll's university colleagues and their possible influences on the following generation of historians and to reflect transformations of relationships between students and Jaroslav Goll and other teachers. Thus, the proceedings are meant to initiate further research of Czech historiography at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century.

In addition to national context, the symposium discussed international aspects - relationships, inspirations, and parallels of Czech positivistic historiography with a special focus on the area of the former Cisleithania (Danube Monarchy). The organisers addressed participants to the conference, who included both Czech and foreign researchers, i.a. with the ambition to support liaisons within the younger generation of Czech historians, who have shown an increasing interest in historiography. Even though the editors of the proceedings have not succeeded in reaching all their targets, the present publication illustrates the current state of knowledge on the subject in question and in many regards it, beyond any doubt, reveals new facts, which are based on the authors' thorough and extensive archives investigations.

The introductory contribution by Bohumil Jiroušek (The Historian Jaroslav Goll and His Position in Czech Historiography) is dedicated to the personality of the historian Jaroslav Goll (1846-1929), whose pedagogical activities at Prague University are viewed in the context of the generation of his teachers (W. W. Tomek, K. Höfler), colleague historians (A. Rezek, J. Kalousek, J. Emler, etc.), and the fact that Goll's role in Czech historiography was not so significant as it has appeared to be until now (due to a poor knowledge of W. W. Tomek's legacy and German historiography in the then Bohemia) is pointed out. Above all, Goll was a teacher, his literary research legacy is rather limited and was criticised already during his life; nevertheless, not even his well-known seminars building on his studies in Göttingen supervised by G. Waitz represented enhancement of Czech historic science. However, an apparent improvement of the quality of development of Czech historic science occurred during his interaction with the generation of Jaroslav Goll's followers, Antonín Rezek, Josef Emler, or Josef Kalousek, when the establishment of a Czech university in Prague (1882) opened new opportunities and contributed to a wider academic peregrination (study stays of young Czech researchers at foreign universities).

The following block responds to the situation in European historiography in the late 19th century. Particular attention is paid to Polish historiography in Krakow, with which Czech historiography maintained close contacts at that time. Izabela Lewandowska-Malec follows the activities of the representative of the Krakow School Michał Bobrzyński, and Oswald Balzer, a legal historian, including his polemics with the historian Theodor Mommsen, Germany, for which the Czech environment has an analogy (Josef Pekař's polemics) is discussed by Anna Karabowicz. Fabio Marco Fabbri was captured by the situation of Italian historiography of the latter half of the 19th century and in particular by the research works by the key organiser of Italian historiography of that period, Pasquale Villari. Ivan Hlaváček evaluated the importance of the Institute for Austrian History within Vienna University in terms of the education of Czech historians and archivists at the turn from the 19th to the 20th century, Eduard Mikušek was the first to describe the activities of the Commission for Newer Austrian History (Kommission für Neuere Geschichte Österreichs) in connection with Antonín Rezek, its first Chairman, and Jaroslav Goll, as the coordinator of its activities in Czech lands, in more detail within Czech historiography. Jitka Rauchová monitors "Goll's School" representatives' stays in Vatican archives on the basis of resources obtained from Istituto Austriaco and Josef Blüml, who - apart from European links and inspirations - focused on the older generation of historians (people around W. W. Tomek), since Jaroslav Goll rather refused to consider cultural history - without a clear methodological background - a scientific field, discusses development of Cultural History (in particular Čeněk Zíbrt) at Prague University.

The next block attempts to define the scope of other impacts forming historiography of that time. Miloš Řezník develops our knowledge of university activities of the historian W. W. Tomek as well as of his teaching capabilities and "learners", Bohumil Jiroušek analyses Tomek's research works, when in particular his Austrian history textbooks integrated Czech history into the European context and influenced university students until as long as the early 20th century. Ulrich Muhlack examines the role of George Waitz, a historian and follower of Leopold von Ranke, in German historiography, emphasising the links to Prague (K. Höfler and J. Goll) or to Gabriel Monod, another Waitz's student, to whose Revue Historique Jaroslav Goll contributed with clearly-arranged articles about Czech history production. Marie Ryantová dedicates herself to the role of the historian Josef Kalousek at Czech University in Prague, especially to his relationship with Jaroslav Goll, which was strongly affected by their different attitudes to the Královédvorský and Zelenohorský Manuscripts (falsifications from the beginning of the 19th century claiming to date back to early Middle Ages), the genuineness of which Josef Kalousek (and partially also W. W. Tomek) tried to defend against his opponents (especially the philologist Jan Gebauer, the historian Jaroslav Goll, and the philosopher and sociologist Tomáš G. Masaryk). Luboš Velek reviews the critical attitude of Jaromír Čelakovský, a legal historian allied with the environment of W. W. Tomek and Josef Kalousek, towards the activities of Goll's School and Goll himself. Doubravka Olšáková selected the translator of Ernst Denis's works into Czech, Jindřich Vančura, and his role in Czech historiography to be the object of her interest. Ernst Denis strongly opposed Goll's critical historical school having roots in Ranke-based historicism and, on the contrary, stressed philosophical sources of historiography, which he sought in the philosopher and sociologist Tomáš G. Masaryk, whose opinions were significantly inspired by the Enlightenment/Romantic works by František Palacký. It is followed by Tomáš Hermann's contribution to the comparison of Goll's and Masaryk's standpoints on the intellectual legacy of František Palacký. The author believes that the two personalities' attitudes were much closer than their "party-liners", who were enemies arguing about the meaning of Czech history, judged.

Jaroslav Čechura analyses a unique resource concerning Goll's activities, namely an extensive letter he wrote to his student, Kamil Krofta, as information for Krofta's article on the occasion of Goll's sixtieth birthday. He believes that even though Goll decided for history, it was his occupation rather than his major love. And Kamil Krofta sees the crucial legacy Goll left behind in his critical thinking, since Goll failed to formulate a programme of future tasks for his followers. Jiří Štaif made an attempt to find traces of caricature of Jaroslav Goll, his methods, and students both in works of his opponents and followers. Thus, criticism takes roots in different environments - in the Museum of the Czech Kingdom, which supported W. W. Tomek's or Č. Zíbrt's attitudes (Václav Řezníček), Masaryk followers (Jan Herben), and - on the contrary - members of the new generation of historiography seeking inspiration in Max Weber's works or in Marxism (Jan Slavík).

Lenka Řezníková points out wide literary interests of Jaroslav Goll, author of patriotic poems (he even endeavoured to write a drama) and translator (e.g. poems by Charles Baudelaire), which the Czech Modernism (a free organisation of poets, which published the Manifesto of Czech Modernism in 1895) first refused to accept but later - when Goll was accused of decadency - they changed their mind for tactical reasons and defended Goll (1912) i.a. due to their actual resistance against Masaryk followers. Kateřina Bláhová complements this subject with her observations on the development of literary history of that time including J. Goll's attitude towards Czech philology and literary science.

The fourth segment is dedicated to the very phenomenon of the so-called Goll's School, i.e. to the key representatives of Goll's followers and to the question of how much they felt influenced by Jaroslav Goll, to what degree they polemicized with him or - on the contrary - sought support from his colleagues. The situation in Czech historiography was strongly affected by the existence of the only Czech university, as a result of which Jaroslav Goll - backed up from Vienna by a former Austrian History Professor of Prague University and the then Privy Counsellor of the Emperor, an influential official of the Ministry of Religion and Education and a later Minister-Compatriot, Antonín Rezek - could not be omitted in considerations of the possibilities of an academic career. Jaroslav Goll (supported by Josef Kalousek and later also by Professors from among "his" students) in association with Antonín Rezek handled travel grants, habilitations, as well as the first attempts for extraordinary and ordinary professorships of "his" students. Zdeněk Beneš contemplates - using the example of Josef Pekař, probably the most important historian from among the generation of Goll's followers - whether there is a continuation of Goll's approach to history, even though it is well known that Josef Pekař belonged to Goll's closest confidants. On the other hand, Jiří Lach sees the historian Josef Šusta as Goll's undoubted follower. Dagmar Blümlová analyses the attitude of Ladislav Hofman, a prematurely deceased promising historian, to Jaroslav Goll, with a particular focus on his relationship to the environment by which Hofman was inspired even more, the environment of literary world, and to Tomáš G. Masaryk. Hana Kábová deals with the research works of the first Professor of Historical National Studies of Prague University, Josef Vítězslav Šimák, who rather than to Jaroslav Goll referred to his other teachers such as Antonín Rezek or Josef Kalousek. Roman Ferstl then discusses the historical national studies concept of J. V. Šimák (and his follower in the same research field, František Roubík). Jaroslava Hoffmannová provides a detailed analysis of the activities of Václav Novotný, Professor of Czech History, and his attitudes to his teachers, colleagues, and students. Ludmila Sulitková presents relationships between Jaroslav Goll and a young candidate for the study of auxiliary historical sciences, Gustav Friedrich, in particular as regards Friedrich's preparation of a palaeography textbook. Marek Ďurčanský draws our attention to Jaroslav Bidlo, Professor of East-European History, and to his attitude to Jaroslav Goll and other university professors of that time. In addition, Ďurčanský edited Bidlo's memories of Jaroslav Goll in the Documents Section.

Jiří Křesťan focused on Zdeněk Nejedlý, Music Science Professor, who inclined to Marxism already in the interwar period and spent some time in the Soviet Union during the World War II, afterwards officially assuming the position of Professor of Czechoslovak History even though being actually more engaged in politics as a minister in many communist governments and President of the newly established Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (1952). Křesťan depicts in particular Nejedlý's attitude to his teachers (besides Goll especially Otakar Hostinský) and transformations thereof including Nejedlý's opinions about T. G. Masaryk. Milada Sekyrková devotes herself to a pair of historians (J. Prokeš and O. Odložilík, who are related in terms of their archival activities) and to their university-aimed efforts. Odložilík's life story included his assertion at Prague University but also two emigrations (during the World War II and after the Communists took control in 1948). Martin Nodl is concerned with a difficult assertion of Economic History at Prague University (comparing - among other things - Czech and German Universities in Prague) in the interwar period and in particular with the role of the leading personality of Czech social and economic history of that time, Bedřich Mendl. Pavel Holát analyses the attitude of Goll's School to maps as a historian's resource, which activity was pursued especially by František Roubík, even though no major success was achieved until the time of domination of Marxist historiography in the 1960s.

Tomáš Borovský changes to another significant topic in the development of Czech historiography. New universities, in Brno and Bratislava, were established after the formation of Czechoslovakia by a political decision of the Parliament and Government (1919). Borovský tackles the issue of existence of history-related courses at Brno University, where the pedagogues and researchers included former Moravian archivists along with Prague associate professors (who had the opportunity to be promoted to professors in Brno). Thus, besides František Hrubý Moravian historiography was influenced e.g. by Bohumil Navrátil. Jozef Baďurík discusses the situation at the first university of the Slovak nation, which - being consistently Czechoslovak - came to existence in Bratislava. The foundations of the field were laid by Czech historians - in addition to the prematurely deceased Jan Heidler also Kamil Krofta, Professor in Prague, who at the same time held the position of Ambassador in Vienna and terminated his university engagement after having been reassigned to the Embassy in Berlin, and especially Václav Chaloupecký, who was forced to release his position to Slovak candidates in 1938 as a result of a new political situation, even though he himself desired to go to Prague (to replace Josef Pekař) under the given circumstances. Zdeněk Nešpor summarises the subject of the study of religious and ecclesiastical history during the domination of Goll's School.

The last segment is of a more or less material nature and illustrates Goll's personality and research activities, when it brings important information about Jaroslav Goll's family background (in particular about his wife and children) in Jiří Dvořák's contribution, about Goll's young years and his fellow university student and roommate, Ervín Špindler, in Magdaléna Pokorná's study, and about aristocratic environment (the Orlík branch of the Schwarzenberg family and their tutor Jan Bohumil Novák, father of the historian Jan Bedřich Novák) and Goll's political activities in Zdeněk Bezecný's contribution. The last text in the proceedings is Jaroslav Bidlo's memories of Jaroslav Goll and some other teachers and university colleagues (edited by Marek Ďurčanský).

Even though Jaroslav Goll and His Followers seemingly covers a narrow subject, it is in fact an essential issue in the development of Czech historiography and a key moment in the evolution of modern Czech historiography. The time of the so-called Goll's School laid foundations for the evaluation of the image of the 19th century Czech historiography (which persisted until 1948 and to which Czech historiography returns - even though recently rather in a polemic manner - and which it reinstated after the continuity interrupted by dogmatic Marxism) and strongly contributed to stabilisation of a core of power in Czech historical science, which maintained its positions until the World War II and partially even until at least 1948, whereas some of the personalities of that group played a role in the establishment of Marxist historiography in the 1950s.

Naturally, the proceedings did not exhaust the subject in full; many historians of the former half of the 20th century are yet to be investigated while some others (František Kutnar, Zdeněk Kalista, etc.) had been evaluated within different forums, which applies also to the generation of Goll's contemporaries and teachers (particularly important is the fact that conference proceedings are currently being published also on the personality and works of W. W. Tomek). It should also be noted that many topics discussed at this symposium are subject to different viewpoints of historians - while some approach the subject in a more traditional way based on the existing depictions of Jaroslav Goll on the occasion of his life jubilees, which were summarised by Jaroslav Marek, a Brno historian, in his book called Jaroslav Goll in the 1960s (however, the book could not be published until after the fall of communism, 1991), some others show a more critical attitude to Goll's activities and legacy. Those critical standpoints are likely to appear still more often along with a higher degree of investigation of historiography of the 19th and 20th centuries, along with recognition of the impact of Prague German historiography on the 19th century Czech historiography, and - last but not least - along with an increasing interest in cultural and intellectual history within Czech historiography.


(Bohumil Jiroušek, translated by Monika Fialová)