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Martin Nodl Disputes about Jan Hus and Czech Catholic Historiography in Late 19th and Early 20th Century

This study deals with issues related to the perception of Jan Hus from a confessional point of view in late 19th and early 20th century. It presents an analysis of texts by Antonín Lenz and Jan Sedlák, both Catholic historians, in contraposition with liberal and Protestant historiography represented by Václav Flajšhans, Václav Novotný, and Vlastimil Kybal. The author concludes that in some aspects of the historiographic discourse, a national approach to Hus and his work was more important than positions defined purely along confessional lines. This was most apparent in the attitude of Czech historians to Johann Loserth’s claims and in their attempt to make a clear distinction between Hus’s reformism and heretical positions of the revolutionary Hussites.

Martin Nodl The Tragic End of the Czech Footnote

In historiography, footnotes have gained a distinct role. Works without footnotes are not considered scientific or erudite to such an extent that absence of footnotes disqualifies a book from being accepted as academically respectable. This is, however, the outcome of a long development and in the Czech environment, footnotes have over the past almost two centuries undergone various changes and transformations. In recent decades, however, the Czech academic environment had undergone extensive development linked to the foundation of various regional universities, massive increase in student numbers, increased numbers of qualification theses and persons with higher academic titles. This led to an overproduction of historiographic works, which in turn had an impact on the form of footnotes. In some respects, one could say that footnotes as such became suspect, which in late 2018 and early 2019 led to an absurd debate on whether copying the footnotes from another author amounts to plagiarism or not. In this contribution, which is intended as a contribution to a discussion on this subject, the author tries to trace the development of footnotes in Czech medievalist historiography from the time of František Palacký, through their transformation by the ‘Goll’s school’, the impact of Marxist historiography, and various attempts at revising the importance of footnotes in Czech historiography after 1989. In conclusion, the author offers twenty subjective thoughts on the tragic fate of the Czech footnotes.