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Peter Demetz Czech Republic    PWF 2003

Peter Demetz

Before leaving, he earned a Doctorate from Charles University. Once in America, he received a Masters Degree from Columbia University and a PhD from Yale University.

His widely-acclaimed Prague in Black and Gold remains the most accessible and comprehensive history of Prague available. As Demetz says of Prague, having lived for many years in the United States, most of his students at Yale knew only of Kafka and Havel; however, as he noted, “The city has a long history - many wars, many peaceful years of creative writing and art - and I said that I was going to write a book for my American students to show them what Prague means in the course of 900 or 1,000 years.”

The Air Show at Brescia, 1909 , recently published, is an erudite distillation of an event which brought together the likes of Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Giacomo Puccini and Gabriele D'Annunzio. The book, he tells, is very historical, saying “It was the first meeting of important poets and important pilots in cultural history. It's based on detailed facts.”

In 1971, Demetz received the Golden Goethe Award of the Federal Republic of Germany for his contributions to the study of German culture. In 1981, he served as the president of the Modern Language Association. Three years later, he was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit by the German government. In 2000, he received a Medal of Merit for his studies of the Czech Republic.

Peter Demetz is now the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Germanic Language and Literature at Yale University. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.