LESNÝ, Vincenz

LESNÝ, Vincenc. Komárovice (Morava) 3.4.1882 — Prague 9.4.1953. Czech Indologist. Professor in Prague. Born in a poor family, son of Baltazar L. and Victorie Sujerlova. After school first in a naval academy at Pula, from 1903 studies at Prague, of classical philology, IE and Indology (Zubatý and Winternitz). Ph.D. 1907/08 Prague under Zubatý. Further studies under Macdonell at Oxford and under Jacoby at Bonn, in 1909-10. In 1912-24 schoolteacher of classical languages in Prague. From 1918 PD at Prague, teaching Indo-Iranian in Czech. In 1924 Zubatý’s chair was divided into those of IE and Indology, and the latter was given to Lesný (as eo., ord. 1930), who taught then until his death (and was succeeded by Friš). Married with Milada Lesná-Krausová (who translated Tagore from English), at least one son.

Lesný was a many-sided scholar, interested in Sanskrit, MIA, NIA (Hindi, Bengali, Marathi), Avestan, OP and comparative linguistics. He wrote about the genuiness of religious traditions (in Zoroastrianism and Buddhism), about relations between Czechoslovakia and India, about syntax. His dictionary of the Gipsy language remained unfinished. A large part of his literary production was in Czech and therefore scarcely noted outside his country. He met personally R. Tagore in 1921 in Prague, in 1923 and 1928 visited Santiniketan. Under Lesný’s guidance appeared following Indological dissertations: Borecký 1930, Friš 1946, Drozen 1946, Zbavitel 1949, Sgall 1949, Merhaut 1952, Zvelebil 1952, and Fišer 1953. Among his students were also Poucha and Pořízka.

Publications: Diss. O národnosti starých Makedonů. Prague 1907/08.

Habil.diss. “Výjový stupeń nářečí prākṛttských v dramatech Bhāsových a nrčení Bhāsovy doby”, Rozpravy české Akademie cís. Františka Josefa pro vědy, slovesnost a umění. Třída 3, číslo 46, 48 p. Praha 1917 (cf. ZDMG 72, 1918, 203-208).

– Maráthská syntax pádová. 124 p. Prague1910.

– “Über das purāṇaartige Gepräge des Bālakāṇḍa”, ZDMG 67, 1913, 497-500.

Translated: Sómadév, Kathásaritságaras. Svod milostných pohádek indických. 162 p. Praha 1909; “Bhāsovo Bālacaritam”, Listý filol. 42, 1915, 437-444; Nalaḥ a Damajantí. Z jazyka staroindického. 98 p. Kladno 1924.

Transl. from NIA: Ajódhjá Singh: Déóbálá. Z hindí. 70 p. Prague 1911; R. Thákur: Volný tok. Z bengálského. 112 p. Kladno 1924; R. Thákur: Črty. Z beng. 104 p. Kladno 1926; R. Thákur: Poslední noc. 163 p. Prague 1938.

Buddhismus. Buddha a buddhismus pálijského kánonu. 273 p. Kladno 1921.

Dnešní Indie. 150 p. Prague 1924 (Modern India); Duch Indie. 171 p. Prague 1927 (Spirit of India); Indické pohádky. 72 p. Prague 1927 (Indian Tales); Indie a Indové. Pout staletími. 314 p. Prague 1931.

Rabíndranath Thákur (Tagore). Osobnost a dílo. 352 p. Kladno 1937, English transl. as R. Tagore, his Personality and Work. L. 1939

– Buddhismus. 448 p. Prague 1948 (in Czech).

– “Genealogische Strophen als älteste Bestandteile der epischen Sanskritdichtung”, ArO 10, 1938, 273-280.

Básnický zápas Otokara Březiny. 78 p. Prague 1945.

– Translated: Dhammapadam. 95 p. Prague 1947.

Numerous articles on Iranian, on Indian philology, Veda and epics, on Pāli and Buddhism in ArO, etc.

Sources: *J. Filipský (ed.), Vincenc Lesný and Indian Studies. Prague 1982;P. Poucha, ArO 65, 1948, 149-161 (in Czech, with bibliography and photo); O. Friš, ArO 21, 1953, 25f.; Kdo byl kdo – čeští a slovenští orientalisté; Czech Wikipedie with photo

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