Jara Cimrman, Prague’s fictional polymath

(K. Brent Tomer),

LEGEND has it that he advised Edison, Eiffel, Einstein, Chekhov and Tchaikovsky. He corresponded with George Bernard Shaw, came up with the idea for the Panama Canal, invented yogurt and only narrowly missed becoming the first person to reach the North Pole (he was seven metres off, the day before Robert Peary). Add to that reorienting the periodic table of elements, creating the first ever puppet show (in Paraguay, no less) and fathering an entire philosophical school (Externism), it’s no wonder that a 2005 public poll found Jara Cimrman to be the greatest Czech of all time.

Foreign readers could be forgiven for never having heard of this playwright, sportsman, inventor, poet and philosopher because “the Master”, as Cimrmanologists often refer to him, has never received the credit he deserves. In fact, the very thing that makes this fictional character a modern folk hero is that, “he personalises the feelings of a small oppressed nation that is convinced, that if it weren’t for the big guys, they would be able to show their…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC Jara Cimrman, Prague’s fictional polymath


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