1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

plamenný duch

Discussion in 'Čeština (Czech)' started by slavicist89, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. slavicist89 Junior Member

    English - England
    Dear all,

    I can't seem to find a translation for the phrase 'plamenný duch', which I assume is some kind of fixed expression, and appears in the following context (from 'Gulaňje' in Havlíček's Obrazy z Rus):

    'Ostatní okolo flašky vodky a kusu pečeně a chleba hulákajíce sedí a leží, a největší čásť odhodlala se na onom místě pozbýti, co má nejdražšího, totiž zdravý rozum. K víčerou již se to nejvíce všem podařilo a lesík postlán jest živými mrtvolami padších za vlast v nestejném zápasu s plamenným duchem ne času, nýbrž bramborů a žita.'

    Havlíček has just described a Russian national celebration where everybody gets together and eats and drinks a lot.

    Also, what does plamenný duch have to do with time?

    Thanks,
    Slavicist
     
  2. bibax Senior Member

    Czech
    I should say that "plamenný duch" can be translated as blazing/glowing/inflaming/lighting/etc. spirit into English. I found the following example:

    He had a modest, self–effacing personality, but it was easy to catch the contagion of his glowing spirit.

    However in the Havlíček's text it is clearly a play on words. In Latin spiritus ardens is an alternative name of ethylalcohol (besides spiritus vini = spirit of wine).

    plamenný duch bramborů a žita = ardent spirit of potatoes and rye, i.e. ethanol contained in vodka and samohonka;
    plamenný duch času = inflaming spirit of the time, something more lofty for contrast;
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  3. slavicist89 Junior Member

    English - England
    Dear Bibax,

    Thanks so much for that explanation! I've never heard the expression spiritus ardens before, but I can see that it makes perfect sense in this context! That helps a lot.

    All best,
    Slavicist
     

Share This Page