He is considered one of the most important Czech writers. He wrote some works together with his brother Josef. His most famous works can be classified as science fiction , in line with British authors such as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. He is known as the inventor of the word 'robot'. The word appeared in his work r.u.r. (Rossum's Universal Robots)(1920). In a letter to the editor in Lidové Noviny (a Czech newspaper, of which he was editor for some time) that the word tells Karel Čapek in 1933 by his brother Josef is fabricated (see external links). He also wrote Krakatit (1924) about the discovery of an explosive force of unprecedented destruction (the atomic bomb?).
In addition, he also wrote numerous newspaper articles, plays, children's books, detectives, travel and even a book on gardening. Čapek took advantage of numerous writing styles and genres, often also within a work. Much of his work is written with a shrewd sense of humor. In 1932 was a collection of his travel stories from Netherlands Obrázky z Holandska issued under the name (published under the title in the Dutch about Holland). Famous is also its Dášeňka (1932, appeared in the Netherlands as Tuuntje ) about its own way young dog, illustrated with own pictures.
The brothers Čapek formed the hub of the intellectual life in the Czecho-Slovakia between the two world wars. They United left-wing avant-garde artists with more conservative intellectuals. Charles also enjoyed the warm sympathy of the charismatic president of the first Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938), Tomáš Masaryk (1850-1937). Masaryk asked him his life story Masarykem Hovory s on to draw in (1928, conversations with Masaryk).
In the 1930s agitated Čapek in his work more and more against the emerging Nazism, fascism and communism. In this period he wrote a number of plays and novels with a strong political charge. Válka s mlokem (1936, war with the newts) is the best example. Then with the Munich Agreement in september 1938 it became clear that the Western European countries would not assist Czecho-Slovakia against the National Socialist threat, collapsed in his world. He died shortly afterwards as a broken man to a pneumonia.
Unfortunately not available in the Dutch Čapeks work. In his time are the main work appeared also in the Dutch. English and German translations are as regards the more important generally work no problem. A selection:
- R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) (1920) (Pegasus 2010)
- The Makropulos affair (1922, the basis of an opera by Leoš Janáček (1954-1928)
- Krakatit (1924)
- Conversations with Masaryk (1928)
- Dášeňka (1932)
- Hordubal (1933)
- War with the newts (1936) (Prism books # 1164-1966; World Library 2011)
- The year of the gardener (1929) (The Mets Boekerij 2001/2003)
- An ordinary life, (1934) (World Library 2008)
- Prints of Holland (1932) (footnote 2009)
- The first team (1937) (Translation by Hans Chalk and Miep Diekmann from 1986)