Archive: Culture | Literature Literature

Petr Váša – avant-garde rocker turned ‘physical poet”

25-03-2012 03:01 | Jan Richter

Petr Váša In Sunday Music Show, you have a chance to follow the career of Petr Váša, one of the most original figures of the Czech musical scene. From his early days of avant-garde rock to his ‘physical poetry’, Petr Váša has explored some of the lesser known corners of popular music with his energetic, disquieting and sometimes rather eccentric creations.  More

“Sala’s Gift”: a whole war in a tin box

17-03-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

You will probably not have heard of Gross Sarne, Brande, Blechhammer or Schatzlar, but these are places that should be remembered. They were all Nazi slave labour camps in World War Two. The last on that list, Schatzlar, or Žacléř as it is known in Czech, was in what is now the Czech Republic, in the part of north-eastern Bohemia annexed by the German Reich in 1938. Few people in this country, even among the inhabitants of Žacléř itself, know that the camp even existed, but a new book should help to put that right. The daughter of one of the survivors has just been in the Czech Republic, to launch the Czech edition of her book “Sala’s Gift”. The book tells her mother’s story, drawing richly from Sala’s own memories and from several hundred letters that, against all odds, survived the war. David Vaughan tells the story.  More

A new “Czech Literature Guide” gives useful insights into the world of Czech books

10-03-2012 02:01 | David Vaughan

If you’re looking for an overview of the current Czech literary scene in English – everything from surrealist poets to second-hand bookshops – the new “Czech Literature Guide” should be just the book for you. As it states in its introduction, the book’s aim is to present a “panorama of the contemporary life of Czech literature”. David Vaughan reports.  More

“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

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