> Skip to content
  • Published: 30 March 2004
  • ISBN: 9780141182087
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 112
  • RRP: $23.99

R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)



A visionary work of science fiction that introduced the word "robot"

Written in 1920, premiered in Prague in 1921, and first performed in New York in 1922—garnered worldwide acclaim for its author and popularized the word robot. Mass-produced as efficient laborers to serve man, Capek’s Robots are an android product—they remember everything but think of nothing new. But the Utopian life they provide ultimately lacks meaning, and the humans they serve stop reproducing. When the Robots revolt, killing all but one of their masters, they must strain to learn the secret of self-duplication. It is not until two Robots fall in love and are christened “Adam” and “Eve” by the last surviving human that Nature emerges triumphant.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

  • Published: 30 March 2004
  • ISBN: 9780141182087
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 112
  • RRP: $23.99

About the author

Karel Capek

Karel Capek was a Czech writer who is best known for his 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots). The play was Capek's first international success, introduced the word 'robot' to the English language and was one of the works that pioneered the theme of robots in fiction. The idea of artificial intelligence and what it means to be human became a popular one in future science fiction tales such as Asimov's I, Robot and Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Capek also wrote many other works of fiction and non-fiction, including detective stories, fairytales and travel books. His most important works, such as The Tales from Two Pockets and the trilogy Hordubal, Meteor and An Ordinary Life, deal with epistemology (the study of knowledge). A fervent anti-fascist and anti-communist, Capek campaigned for freedom of expression and was a member of the International PEN Club. He died of double pneumonia on Christmas Day 1938, aged 48.

Also by Karel Capek

See all

Related titles