Literary history was long treated as part of philology, lacking its own distinct methodological foundations. The basic prerequisite for promoting it as an independent discipline was to find a way to formulate what it dealt with and how. Its existence next had to be ensured by institutionalizing it, particularly by publishing a scholarly journal to communicate the new discipline and establishing a university chair to ensure its continuity. The 'Vlcek School' managed to do this thanks in particular to relations with scholars in other countries. Impulses were provided by the encounter with German and French positivist literary scholarship, by becoming familiar with journals of literary studies abroad, and by finding models in German universities, museums, and other organizations where the study of literature was taking place. In the late nineteenth century Jaroslav Vlcek (1860-1930) habilitated to teach Czech Literature at the Czech part of Prague University, and Jan Jakubec (1862-1936) decided to prepare for his habilitation abroad, spending two semesters as a full-time student at Vienna and Berlin. Vlcek's lectures were a success, yet he did not yet manage to establish the study of Czech literature as an independent field. Jakubec and Vlcek therefore sought to start up a periodical for the discipline. This idea was not at first, however, carried out in full; the resulting journal, 'Obzor literarni a umelecky' (Literature and Art Review), edited by Vlcek, was more like a review of literary criticism, which also ran longer articles and essays on methodology. Despite all the ups and downs it was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that Vlcek and his colleagues eventually did manage to establish literary history both at the university and in periodicals. Similarly to German researchers they focused on more recent literature. They began to prepare a critical edition of works by nineteenth-century Czech writers of belles-lettres, and initiated a group project devoted to the history of Czech literature of the period. Methodologically, however, their inspiration was French positivism. The field soon began to attract people to work in it. Researchers defended the new conception of literary history in articles on theory and method. By the beginning of the twentieth century works of literary history had become an integral part of studies in the humanities.
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