The Bust of Karolina Světlá
The monument in the middle of the Charles Square was created by the sculptor Gustav Zoula and the architect Josef Fanta. Unveiled on 29 May 1910, it became the first monument in a newly established park. Karolina Světlá lived directly at Charles Square, namely on the corner with Ječná Street.
“Karolina Světlá, real name Johana Nepomucena Mužáková, née Rottová, was born on 24 February 1830 in Prague, on Ash Wednesday, during the great flood. The priest and her godparents came to her baptism on boats, as her house in Poštovská Street (now Karoliny Světlé Street) was located near the river.” (www.karolinasvetla.cz/)
Světlá was one of the most significant Czech writers and feminists. In 1865, she and Vojtěch Náprstek founded the American Ladies’ Club, which would become a women’s educational and cultural centre. In addition to her rural realist works, she wrote the story behind Bedřich Smetana’s opera, The Kiss (with the libretto written by her friend, Eliška Krásnohorská). She and Krásnohorská co-founded the Women’s Czech Production Society in 1871 and served as long-term managing executives of the Women’s Letters. She married Petr Mužák, a piano professor based in the Ještěd Foothills. Her husband’s birthplace later inspired her pen name.
She and Mužák lived in Ve Smečkách Street and later, till her death, in the House at the Stone Table (on the corner of Charles Square and Ječná Street, where her plaque and memorial are also located). The House at the Stone Table was later demolished and replaced by another building. Karolina Světlá’s niece and collaborator, Anežka Čermáková-Sluková, performed language editing and transcriptions for her literary works when she was suffering from acute eye disease. She also ensured the preservation of Karolina Světlá’s estate and its depositing in the Podještědské muzeum (Ještěd Foothills Museum) of Český Dub.