Gerald Turner is a leading translator of Czech literature into English and is currently preparing to take on no less a work than Jaroslav Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk. Though now mainly based in his native England, throughout the 1970s Turner lived in Prague, where he lost his enthusiasm for communism and fell in with lots of notable figures on the city’s art scene. Our tour of “his Prague” begins at the pub U Parlamentu in the Old Town.
Czech officials offered Sweden their condolences on Friday, strongly condemning an apparent terror attack in Stockholm, in which an assailant drove a lorry into a crowd, killing at least three people. Culture Minister Daniel Herman wrote on Twitter that such attacks must not become normal, while Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek wrote that attacks on innocents had to stop. Other Czech politicians, shocked by the heinous act, said their thoughts were with the victims and their families. Swedish police are searching for a person of interest captured on CCTV.
Dozens of motorcycle fans and a number of antique car owners turned up on Saturday to back a project for the installation of a statue of famous Czech literary character Josef Švejk in Kralupy outside of Prague. So far, the initiative has 380,000 crowns in donations but is still short by some 150,000. Eighty-four motorcycle owners took part in a ride to help raise the remaining funds. The statue is based on actor Rudolf Hrušinsky who played the iconic character in the 1956 film The Good Soldier Švejk.
The first statue of the literary character Josef Švejk in the Czech Republic was unveiled in Putim on Saturday, the Czech News Agency reported. Švejk’s wanderings took him through the south Bohemian town in Jaroslav Hašek’s classic 1923 novel The Good Soldier Švejk. There are 12 statues of the literary character, famously illustrated in the book by Josef Lada, in other parts of the world. The South Bohemian regional authority and CzechTourism helped finance the bronze statue in Putim, which holds a Švejk festival every year.
The National Theater in Prague has announced that it will present a special international project called 1914 on 30 April of next year to mark 100 years since the beginning of World War One. The play will be directed by the American director Robert Wilson and the script was inspired above all by Jaroslav Hašek’s novel The Good Soldier Švejk and the satirical play The Last Days of Mankind by the Bohemian born writer Karl Kraus. The creative team of the project also includes theater professionals from Slovakia and Hungary. The first round of rehearsals, which began in mid-September, will conclude this week, while the second round will take place next spring.
Czech Radio’s Vltava station will place recordings of the first volume of The Good Soldier Švejk on their website. Responding to enormous interest from their listeners in the audio adaptation of Jaroslav Hašek’s classic, the station decided to make the recording by the famous Czech actor Oldřich Kaiser available for a longer period of time than the normal week. The Švejk readings, which first aired in May, will be on the station’s website from 10 June to 30 July.
One of the most internationally renowned Czech writers, Jaroslav Hašek, was born in Prague 130 years ago on Tuesday. Hašek is best known for his four-volume satirical novel The Good Soldier Švejk, but has also written numerous short stories and newspaper articles. During the First World War, Hašek was first imprisoned by the Russian army and later joined the Czechoslovak Legion and the Red Army before returning to Czechoslovakia in 1920. A giant granite bust of Jaroslav Hašek was unveiled this weekend near Světla nad Sázavou in the Vysočina region.
Ever since Jaroslav Hašek first thought him up in the early 1920s, the “Good Soldier Švejk” has been one of the best loved characters in Czech literature, as he passively and comically undermines the authority of the Austrian monarchy. In Czech Books this week, David Vaughan meets one of the foremost Švejkologists from outside the Czech Republic.
Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych has secured a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals in London, becoming the sixth qualifier in an elite field of eight. Coming off of a tournament victory in Stockholm on Sunday, Berdych joins other world-class players Roger Federer, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Two single spots remain open; it is also far from certain that Nadal, who is recovering from a lingering knee injury, will play. Berdych, ranked No. 6 in the world, reached the prestigious tournament’s semi-final stage last year. This year marks his third consecutive appearance.