But what does the harp conceal in the desolate depths?
Who will reveal to me its secret sorrows?
Who will speak out and who will tell
What the silent night hides in the pale shadows?
Karel Hynek Mácha, from the sonnet,
“I am silent as an unstrung harp…”_1
Art historian Otto Urban, coeditor of the ground-breaking anthology The Modern Review 1894–1925 (1995), has outdone himself in this critical biography focusing on the art and criticism of the decadent poet and artist Karel Hlaváček (1874–1898), one of the most talented and fascinating cultural figures of the 1890s. This monograph is the first to appear since Fedor Soldan’s Marxist-oriented 1930 study, which highlights Hlaváček’s literary works. Urban, on the other hand, seeks to establish Hlaváček’s reputation as a significant and influential artist.