Xenie Klepikovová passed away

Xenie Klepikovová passed away on August 3, 2013, aged 77. She worked as a publishing editor, author of Czech and French literary-historical essays, translator from French, German and Russian, and was a long-term associate of the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre.

Xenie Klepikovová

Klepikovová was born January 25, 1936 in Prague. From 1954-58 she studied French at the Palacký University in Olomouc, subsequently joining the Prague publisher Avicenum. She also worked with other publishers, including Odeon, Albatros and Mladá Fronta as a lecturer of French and Italian literature.

In 1967, with the aim of adding to her qualifications, she applied for a grant (available to publishing staff) to live in France. More amenable conditions arose only in the spring of 1968, but Klepikovová did not depart for France until the autumn of that year. She returned from Paris at the end of October 1968.

According to her own testimony, Klepikovová endured in the Normalisation-era publishing business under difficult circumstances until 1974. Thereafter, she worked more than seven years as a railway signal operator. On the side, she edited several Russian to Czech translations for Lidové publishers. In 1981, she emigrated. 

In exile, Klepikovová settled in Nuremberg, Germany, where she found work as a librarian at America House (Amerika Haus). She also co-operated with the exile publishing house Index, based in Kolín nad Rýnem, as well as finding and translating articles from French and German for the 150 000 Slov (1500,000 Words) magazine published in France under Antonín Jaroslav Liehm. Additionally, Klepikovová provided assistance to the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre (ČSDS) in Scheinfeld.  

Even after the 1989 fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, Klepikovová continued to help the ČSDS in Prague. In 2003, she served on the editorial board of the organisation’s Ročenka yearbook. In 1992, she defended the thesis “Romain Rolland and the Soviet Union” at Charles University’s French literature department. Klepikovová relocated to Prague permanently in 1999. She also returned to the field of translating, as well as writing reviews and other articles. 

Other work included the partial translation, editing and annotation of the selected Czech bibliography Slovník Ruské Literatury 20. Století (Encyclopaedia of Russian 20th Century Literature) by Wolfgang Kasack (Votobia, 2000), with Klepikovová having already worked on a previous German version of this book.  

Also of particular note are the following translations from German and French: 

  • Ženy v Umění – 20. a 21. století (Women in the Arts, 20th and 21st Century) edited by Uta Grosenicková; translated by Xenie Klepikovová. Prague: Slovart, 2004.
  • Museum LudwigFotografie 20. Století (Ludwig Museum – Photographs of the 20th Century); written by Marianne Bieger-Thielemann … et al. ; translated from German by Xenie Klepikovová. Prague: Slovart, 2003.
  • Stabenowová, Cornelia: Henri Rousseau: 1844-1910; translated by Xenie Klepikovová. Prague: Slovart, 2004.

Xenie Klepikovová had a lifelong interest in the experiences of independent left-wing novelists during the Stalinist era, both in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (Romain Rolland, Jorge Semprún etc.). She was a member of the Romain Rolland Institute and Dante Alighieri Society.

Klepikovová also had a keen interest in the Czech-German psychologist, feminist, author and close friend of writer Milena Jesenská, Alice Rühle-Gerstel.  The following are two essays by Klepikovová on this subject:

  • Přítelkyně Kafkovy Mileny (A Friend of Kafka’s Milena), Listy, č. 2/2007;
  • Mezi Prahou a Mexikem (Between Prague and Mexico), A2, č. 18/2007.