Item #1145 Lelio. Josef Capek, Josef Čapek.
First Book of the Coiner of the Word “Robot”


V Praze (Prague): Knihy dobrých autorů (J. Skaláka a Spol.), 1917. First edition. In publisher’s purple, printed wrappers. Some gatherings were bound loose as usual for Czech books of the period. 74, (6) p. Bookseller’s stamp on half-title. Modestly sunned in a narrow stripe at spine on front cover. Cover artistically restored. Inside clean. Overall in fine condition.

Josef Capek’s first book, a collection of short stories.

Čapek (Czech cubist painter, writer, and poet; 1887–1945) is credited as the coiner of the word “robot”.

Although some sources claim that the word “robot” first appeared in the short story “Opilec” (The Drunkard; pp. 30–37.) of this book, but actually it was “automat”. “Robot” appeared first in Josef’s brother’s 1920 play, “R.U.R.” (Rossum’s Universal Robots), as the name for artificial workers. Karel had difficulties to name these humanoid machines and asked Josef to find something instead of the academically sounding “Labori”. Josef coined the word “Robot” deriving it from the Czech “robota”, forced labour.

[Ref.: Lidové Noviny. Prague, December 24, 1933.]


Price: €1,200.00

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