Martin Hilský studied English at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague and at Linacre College in Oxford.
Since 2010, he has also led seminars on English literature and lectures on Shakespearean topics at the Faculty of Arts of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. He is regularly invited to a conference in Stratford-upon-Avon, where important scholars dealing with Shakespeare’s work meet.
He first devoted his interest to American and contemporary British literature, he translated his first Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in 1983, and since then Shakespeare has become his lifelong destiny. In addition to translating his entire work, he wrote numerous studies and commentaries on his plays and Sonnets.
He is the author and actor of programs about Shakespeare, of all the Czech translators he has done the most for his wide popularization with the number of lectures he organizes throughout the Czech Republic. For years, he has also been professionally associated with the summer Shakespearean plays, which are preparing a special program for his anniversary.
Shakespeare jako Mount Everest
“Translating Shakespeare is like climbing Mount Everest. And I had to go up, the road only went there, there was no going back. To complete the translation of all of Shakespeare requires great patience, concentration, but it is a great challenge that is hard to resist. And even if it can be perceived as a certain effort to assert myself or a manifestation of my pride, I can really say with a clear conscience that it was not so. For me, the most important thing was and still is that the plays in my translation are performed on stage, that people buy and read their book editions. That’s what makes me happy. That it is alive,” said Martin Hilský in an interview for the daily Právo.
Hilský also received a number of other prestigious awards for his work as a translator, essayist, literary historian and teacher. In 2001, he was awarded by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the spread of English literature in the Czech Republic and Shakespeare translations. appointed an Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire. In 2011, President Václav Klaus honored him with an award for services to the state in the field of culture and education, and a day earlier he also received the State Award for translation work.
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