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.
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.
Jaroslav Hašek is known the world over for his epic satirical novel, “The Good Soldier Švejk”. It tells of the adventures of a Czech soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I, drawing richly from the author’s own experiences. But Hašek was also a prolific writer of short stories. Even though he died before his fortieth birthday, he produced nearly fifteen hundred stories, and we can now enjoy a selection of these in English in a new translation by Mark Corner. David Vaughan reports.
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.