Archive: Culture | Literature Literature

“Heaven, distance, light and dazzling brightness”: Czech literary links with Scandinavia

03-03-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

Norway, photo: Schlaubi, CC 3.0 license Did you know that one of Norway’s popular writers is actually Czech, or that in the mid 1930s Karel Čapek fell in love with the forests and skies of Scandinavia? And do Czechs and Danes have more in common than just beer? David Vaughan looks at Czech-Scandinavian literary links.  More

Tomáš Zmeškal: The Biography of a Black-and-White Lamb

18-02-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

Tomáš Zmeškal When Tomáš Zmeškal’s first novel was published four years ago, one critic described it in ecstatic terms as a “gold vein amid the deadwood of contemporary Czech scribbling”. The book, A Love Letter in Cuneiform Script, went on to win the coveted European Union Prize for Literature last year and Tomáš Zmeškal has won international acclaim, although we are still waiting for either of his two novels published so far to appear in English. David Vaughan talks to the writer.  More

Dickens and the Good Soldier Švejk

11-02-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

Here is a question for the Dickens bicentenary. What is the connection between the great 19th century English novelist and the best-loved Czech literary anti-hero? The answer is, surprisingly enough, that without Dickens we quite possibly wouldn’t have Švejk at all. David Vaughan looks at this and some other Czech links with Dickens in this week’s Czech Books.  More

Jaroslav Foglar and his “Rapid Arrows”

31-01-2012 14:30 | Jan Richter

'Rapid Arrows' Writer and youth movement activist Jaroslav Foglar left a deep trace in Czech popular culture. Besides more than 25 novels for children, Jaroslav Foglar is also the father of Rychlé šípy, or “Rapid Arrows”, a legendary comics that has earned a following with generations of Czech readers. Persecuted by the Nazis and the communists, the writer also single-handedly founded his own youth organization which, in its heyday, had tens of thousands of members across the country.  More

Hana Andronikova: mourning a powerful Czech literary voice

28-01-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

Hana Andronikova It seems very strange to be talking about the Czech writer Hana Andronikova in the past tense. When she died of cancer on December 20th last year, she was only 44, and until the last months of her life had been at the height of her creative powers. Author of two successful novels, several plays and numerous short stories, she was one of the most versatile younger Czech writers, and will be hugely missed. David Vaughan looks at her life and work.  More

‘Adolf Loos – A Private Portrait’ offers readers a unique glimpse into the life of the modernist architect

27-01-2012 17:00 | Jan Velinger

In today’s Arts I talk to artist and editor Carrie Paterson about the first English-language edition of a rare and fascinating book originally published in 1936. Written by the third wife of modernist architect Adolf Loos, Claire Beck Loos (Klára Becková-Loosová of Plzeň) it was previously available only in German; the new edition, published by Doppelhouse Press, is called Adolf Loos – A Private Portrait.  More

Josef Škvorecký – Part 2 – ’68 Publishers and writing in Canada

20-01-2012 17:07 | Jan Velinger

In this week’s Arts enjoy Part 2 of our look at the life and work of renowned author Josef Škvorecký, who died at the age of 87 earlier this month. I continue my discussion with respected Czech critic, translator, and specialist in Czech studies Petr Onufer, who talks about how Miloš Forman almost made a film version of The Cowards, Škvorecký’s style as an author and his role as co-founder of ‘68 Publishers.  More

From Karel Čapek to Graham Greene: a Scottish poet’s memories of Prague

14-01-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

Edwin Muir In a recent edition of Czech Books we looked at the Prague-inspired poetry of the Scottish poet, Edwin Muir. But it was not just in his poetry that Muir evoked the atmosphere of the Czech capital. David Vaughan finds out more in this week’s Czech Books.  More

Josef Škvorecký – Part 1 – The Cowards

13-01-2012 15:48 | Jan Velinger

Josef Škvorecký In this week’s Arts we will be looking back at the remarkable life and work of renowned writer, essayist and translator Josef Škvorecký who died earlier this month at the age of 87. The author of novels such as The Engineer of Human Souls was one of the most important in Czech 20th century literature, first making his mark in 1958 with The Cowards. To discuss that book and much, much more in the first of a two-part programme, I met with respected Czech critic, translator, specialist in Czech studies and Revolver Revue contributor Petr Onufer. In Part 1, we look largely Škvorecký’s debut, The Cowards.  More

Renowned author, publisher Josef Škvorecký dies at 87

04-01-2012 15:32 | Jan Velinger

Josef Škvorecký, photo: Tomáš Krist, ISIFA/Lidové noviny Czech emigré author and co-founder of '68 Publishers Josef Škvorecký died at the age of 87 on Tuesday, succumbing to cancer in Toronto, Canada. Mr Škvorecký was one the last great Czech 20th century authors and literati. His first novels published in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s – were quickly banned by the Communist regime. Later, following the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, Škvorecký and his wife Zdena Salivarová moved to Canada, where they founded ’68 Publishers. The imprint was a crucial avenue for Czech and Slovak dissidents like Milan Kundera and Václav Havel to publish in Czech and English in the West.  More

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