Castle and Cathedral: Longing for the Sacred in a Skeptical Age

Castle and Cathedral: Longing for the Sacred in a Skeptical Age

by Bruce R. Berglund


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This book takes a new approach to interwar Prague by addressing religion as an integral part of the city's cultural history. Berglund views Prague's cultural history in the broader context of religious change and secularization in 20th-century Europe. Based on detailed knowledge of sources, the monograph explores the interdisciplinary linkages between politics, architecture and theology in the building of symbolism and a "new mythology" of the first Czechoslovak republic (1918-1938). Berglunds text provides an important service for understanding both Czech history as well as current Czech political debate. The author's method can be characterized as culture history, able to connect several disciplines, emphasizing common topic (religion, politics, symbolics). Modern Czech elites, superficially characterized as "ateistic", appears in a new light to be deeply religious, a transition from more traditional, (mostly) Catholic religiosity, to a concept of a new, modern, ethical religion. The study incorporates biographical research, focusing on three principal characters: Tomás Garrigue Masaryk, Czechoslovakia's first president; his daughter Alice Garrigue Masaryková, founding director of the Czechoslovak Red Cross; and Joze Plecnik, the Slovenian architect who directed the renovations of Prague Castle.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789633861578
Publisher: Central European University Press
Publication date: 10/15/2016
Pages: 388
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Abbreviations ix

Acknowledgements xi

Introduction 1

Part 1 Three Portraits of the Modern Believer 17

Chapter 1 The Philosopher in Search of Truth 19

Imagining a New Religion 22

The Spiritual Pastor 32

Care for the Soul of the Nation 40

"She Formed Me" 50

Chapter 2 The Architect Creating for the Ages 63

Finding a Path in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna 65

Caught between Prague, Vienna, and Ljubljana 77

The Professor as Spiritual Mentor 84

Cubists and Monument Builders 93

Chapter 3 The Social Worker Longing to Serve 109

Discovering Faith and Vocation 111

Looking to America 118

From Jan Hus to Clean Underwear 126

Building Her House or the Rocks 135

Part 2 Czechoslovakia Under the Perspective of Eternity 146

Chapter 4 The Mouse of Masaryk and the Moral Republic 147

The Philosopher as President 151

The House of Masaryk and Managed Democracy 155

The President's Conscience 164

A Fortress of the Mighty God 172

Chapter 5 The Moral Republic and Its Discontents 189

Dissonant Voices in the Castle 192

Catholic intellectuals and the "Culture War" 203

Masaryk's Message Is Our Message 212

Mysterious Stones at the Castle 218

Chapter 6 Building Cathedrals in Modern Prague 232

Religious Institutions and Masaryk's Civil Religion 236

Faith, Truth, and the Culture of the Republic 247

The Blasphemies of Jaroslav Durych 256

A Cathedral for the Modern Nation 264

Chapter 7 The War of the Absolute 285

Convictions of the President-Liberator 287

Reigniting the Culture War 298

T. G. Masarvk-Mortal and Immortal 308

Conclusion 325

Bibliography 343

Index 361

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