Neruda, Jan (yän nĕˈrŏdä) [key], 1834–91, Czech essayist and poet, b. Prague. His popular Stories from Malá Strana (1878), tales drawn from his childhood in Prague and satiric portraits of members of the Czech middle classes, exemplifies early Czech realism. Neruda's poetry in its simplicity and lyricism has been compared to the work of Heinrich Heine. His best-known poems are contained in Ballads and Romances and Plain Themes (both: 1883). His mature verse expresses his resignation to unhappiness.