LESNÝ, Vincenz

LESNÝ, Vincenc. Komárovice (Morava) 3.4.1882 — Prague 9.4.1953. Czechoslovakian Indologist. Professor in Prague. Born in a poor family. 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 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 VL, who taught then until his death (and was succeeded by Friš).

VL 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. In 1927 he met personally R. Tagore in 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).

– “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; Dhammapadam. 1947.

transl. from NIA: Ajódhjá Singh: Déóbálá. Z hindí. 1911; R. Thákur: Volný tok. Z bengálského. 112 p. Kladno 1924; R. Thákur: Črty. Z beng. 104 p. Kladno 1926.

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

Dnešní Indie. 1924 (Modern India); Duch Indie. 1927 (Spirit of India); Indické pohádky. 1927 (Indian Tales); Indie a Indové. Pout staletími. 1931.

Rabíndranath Thákur (Tagore). Osobnost a dílo. 352 p. Kladno 1937; Buddhismus. 448 p. Prague 1948 (in Czech).

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

Básnický zápas Otokara Březiny. 1945.

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

Sources: P. Poucha, ArO 65, 1948, 149-161 (in Czech, with bibliography); O. Friš, ArO 21, 1953, 25f.; Czech Wikipedie with photo

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