FRIŠ, Oldřich

FRIŠ, Oldřich. Boskovice (Moravia) 7.5.1903 — Prague 14.1.1955. Czech Indologist. Professor in Prague. Born in a poor family as one of 12 children. Matriculated from Boskovice in 1922. Studies at Charles University in Prague in 1922-27, in the first place Classical and Slavic philology in order to qualify as a teacher, but soon also took linguistics and Indology under Zubatý, Hujer, Lesný, Winternitz and Stein. In 1924-25 further studies of Indology at Berlin under Lüders, Nobel and von Glasenapp. From 1927 schoolteacher in Strakonice, then at teacher’s training in Prague, passed teacher’s examination in 1930. Now taught in Prešov, from 1931 in Mělník near Prague (where he now continued his Indian studies under Lesný), in 1933-45 in Tišnov (Moravia), far from libraries. In 1934 he visited Paris. He conducted studies on local Czech dialects and, during the war, translated Sanskrit literature.

In 1945 Friš got a teacher’s position in Prague and was thus able to continue his studies. Ph.D. 1946 Prague (under Lesný). In 1946 he joined the Communist Party. In 1948 Docent, as an active communist participated in the reorganization of post-graduate teaching. In 1948-51 also acting Professor of IE at Olomouc (in 1951 the chair was transferred to Prague). At Prague from 1950 Senior Assistant, from 1951 Assistant Professor, from 1952 acting director of Section of Near and Middle Eastern and Indian Languages, from 1954 Lesný’s successor as Professor of Indology and dean. In 1950-55 member of the council of Oriental Institute. Died after a brief illness.

Friš was mainly an Indologist, but also interested in Old Iranian (several articles on Avesta), IE, and Slavic studies. On his initiative Hindi and Bengali were accepted as main languages beside Sanskrit at Charles University. As a communist he soon developed an interest in the obligatory Indian materialism. His Czech translations of Sanskrit poetry have been deemed excellent. Among his students were Zvelebil, Fišer and Herold.

Publications: Diss. Sattasaí a její místo v indické lyrice. Manuscript, Prague 1945/46; “Notes on Hála’s Sattasaí”, ArO 16, 1948, 89-91.

Translated: Sattasaí. Sbirka sedmi set strof. 69 p. Prague 1947; Láska a odříkáni. Prague 1948 (poems of love and renunciation, from Sanskrit and Pāli); Védské hymny. 79 p. Prague 1948; Soucitná smrt. Mahábháratam XII, 256. 28 p. Praha 1949; Kálidása, Oblak poslem lásky. 64 p. Prague 1954 (Meghadūta); Z indických legend. 34 p. Prague 1954 (from Purāṇas).

Habil. diss. Recense Amaruśataka. Manuscript, Prague 1948; “The Recensions of Amaruśataka”, ArO 19, 1951, 125-176; “Two words of Amaruśataka”, ArO 16, 1948, 92-95.

– “The IE comparative”, ArO 18:1-2, 1950, 170-188; “Indo-Iranica”, ArO 18:3, 1950, 73-79; “The IE comparative suffix ios”, ArO 21, 1953, 101-113.

– “The Avestan Studies”, ArO 19, 1951, 492-513; “Etymologische Forschungen”, ArO 21, 1953, 175-181; “Die Stämme auf -an im Avesta”, ArO 22, 1954, 38-62.

Translated with Fr. Hrubin: Bilhana, Dnes ješt’. 67 p. Prague 1952.

Struktura staroindické společnosti. 93 p. Prague 1953 (Structure of Old India society).

Sanskrtská čítanka. 1-2. Prague 1954-56 (Reader and glossary, ed. by V. Pořízka).

– “Orientalism in Czechoslovakia”, ArO 23, 1955, 2-5; “Two Readings of the Kathopaniṣad”, ArO 23, 1955, 6-9.

Editor of ArO 1953-55, of Nový Orient 1951-55.

Translated: Kálidása, Šest ročních dob. Ze sanskrtu “Rtusamhára” přebásnil. Edited by E. Herold. 49 p. Malá Knižnice Orientu 9. Prague 1956; Démonovy povídky. Ze sanskritského originálu “Vētālapañcáviṁśatiku”. Ed. by I. Fišer and O. Pertold. 173 p. Prague 1956; Rámájana. 189 p. Prague 1957.

Sources: V. Gampert & E. Herold, with a bibliography by H. Knížková, ArO 23, 1955, 497-509 with photo; Kdo byl kdo – čeští a slovenští orientalisté; *Czech Wikipedia.

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