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sladek, josef vaclav (1845 - 1912)

Czech poet, translator and journalist. He lived in the United States during the years 1868–1870, which led him to take an interest in Anglo-Saxon literature. One of the works he translated from English was Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, which Dvorak would have had the chance of reading long before his departure for America. During his tenure in the United States, Dvorak was occupied for some time with the idea of setting the epic to music as an opera. Dvorak was in contact with Sladek, also since the poet visited Vysoka near Pribram on various occasions, where he stayed in a little house on the edge of the chateau grounds (today a cafe, located next to the entrance to the Dvorak Memorial). The frequently reproduced group portrait (see below), taken in front of the Vysoka chateau, is Sladek’s work (Dvorak is second from the left).