Romance pro křídlovku

Romance pro křídlovku, cover of the 1992 edition. Illustration by Jiří Ptáček.

Romance pro křídlovku (in English: Romance for Bugle[1] or Romance for Flugelhorn;[2] in German: Romanze für ein Flügelhorn) is a lyrical epic poem written in 1961 by the Czech poet František Hrubín. It tells the story of a young boy who falls in love with a girl from a carousel. The book has been published internationally in Russian and German translations, as well as being adapted for film[1][3] and theatre.[2] It is considered one of the most famous poems of the Czech literature.[4]


The structure of the poem consists of 21 non-rhymed parts, with frequently recurring motifs. The plot is set in four different time periods: 27 and 28 August 1930, June 1933, June 1934 and an unspecified period of the 1940s/50s, however, the individual scenes do not follow chronologically. A young boy from a village meets a girl travelling with a group of comedians visiting Bohemian villages and towns during traditional summer celebrations. They fall in love. The boy abandons his previous mistress Tonka, a rough and down-to-earth village girl, and focuses his thoughts and feelings on his new "unportrayable" subject of love, Terina. Simultaneously, he takes care of his old grandfather. Terina—who is still minor—is watched by the comedian Viktor, who often plays the opening melody from the song “Memory of Hercules Spa” (Băile Herculane) on his flugelhorn. In a short intermezzo (June 1934), Viktor tells the boy that Terina is not with the group, because she died of diphtheria. Years later, the boy tries to find her grave, but it no longer exists. He also meets Viktor in a pub and together they look for the dead girl, in vain.

Background and analysis

František Hrubín wrote "Romance" from August to November 1961. He found an inspiration for the setting of his poem in the villages of his favourite Benešov region.[5] The plot is situated in the village of Lešany and mentions also other real places, such as Netvořice, Chleby etc. The author's correspondence hints that the story was inspired by his own early loves, however, the autobiographical context is not clearly apparent in the work. According to Petr A. Bílek, a literary theorist and historian, "[Romance pro křídlovku] ... is not a nostalgic revocation of real events...". The story doesn't examine "how it actually happened", instead of it, the author searches for "what can be said", and "how to tell this kind of story".[6]

The story is presented in the first-person. The individual parts follow rather non-linear passage of time. Unlike his previous poems, in Romance pro křídlovku Hrubín tells the story of an individuality (the boy) in conflict with the world. Terina, the central character of the story, is depicted as an indefinable and inexpressible entity without firm contours. Her death sharply contrasts with the death of the boy's grandfather. While the grandfather dies naturally, in continuity with the time and his place in the world, the message of Terina's death is presented in a plain, brief and definitive manner: "She died of diphtheria. In winter." ("Umřela na záškrt. V zimě.").[7]


In 1966, the poem was adapted for the same name film directed by Otakar Vávra, starring Jaromír Hanzlík.[8] The film received the Special Silver Prize at the 5th Moscow International Film Festival in 1967.[9] The poem was also adapted for numerous theatre performances, including the National Theatre in Prague.[2]


  1. 1 2 "Romance for Bugle/Romance pro křídlovku - film detail". 51st International Film Festival for Children and Youth. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 "Romance for a Flugelhorn". National Theatre (Prague). Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  3. "Romance for Bugle". Finále Plzeň (25th Festival of Czech Films). Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  4. Frydrychová, Andrea (3 March 2012). "Na prknech zlínského divadla ožije Romance pro křídlovku" (in Czech). Czech Radio. Retrieved 17 June 2012. (Městské divadlo Ve Zlíně dnes uvede premiéru jedné z nejslavnějších básní české literatury Františka Hrubína “Romance pro křídlovku”.)
  5. Doležal, Miloš. "Ta řeka dětství, mládí mého" (in Czech). Týdeník Rozhlas 38 / 2010 (Czech Radio). Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  6. Bílek (1998), p. 62
  7. Bílek (1998), pp. 65-70
  8. Taussig, Pavel (10 May 2010). "Romance pro křídlovku" (in Czech). Instinkt No. 35/2008. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  9. "Romance for Bugle". Küstendorf Film and Music Festival 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2012.


  • Hrubín, František; Bílek, Petr A. (epilogue) (1998). Romance pro křídlovku. Prague: Mladá fronta. ISBN 80-204-0717-0.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)

External links

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