Good-Bye, Samizdat: Twenty Years of Czechoslovak Underground Writings

Overview


Good-bye, Samizdat offers the first collection of the best of Czechoslovakia's samizdat, i.e. underground, texts from the era 1948 through 1990. Divided into three sections, the volume includes fiction, cultural and political works, and philosophical essays. The writings reflect the thought of some of Czechoslovakia's best-known minds--Klima, Vaculik, and Havel--as well as others yet unknown in the West. Taken together, they capture the artistic and intellectual mood of a country situated at a focal point ...
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Overview


Good-bye, Samizdat offers the first collection of the best of Czechoslovakia's samizdat, i.e. underground, texts from the era 1948 through 1990. Divided into three sections, the volume includes fiction, cultural and political works, and philosophical essays. The writings reflect the thought of some of Czechoslovakia's best-known minds--Klima, Vaculik, and Havel--as well as others yet unknown in the West. Taken together, they capture the artistic and intellectual mood of a country situated at a focal point between East and West at a fascinating point in history.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Czechoslovakia's Communist government banned writers, but it couldn't silence them. Unable to publish openly, these writers secretly exchanged works, of which 35 samples are offered in this intriguing and remarkably diverse collection, ranging from fairy tales to philosophical and political essays. Alexander Kliment tells a story of a shrewd tailor and his unusual house guest--Death. Petr Fidelius's essay discusses the self-justifying ``discourse of Communist power'' and its destructive impact on language and thought. Ivan M. Havel, musing about knowledge, finds that the conventional scientific community accepts comfortably only what ``fits well into the mosaic of previously accepted pieces of cognizance.'' Such works offer a glimpse of what people wrote to sustain themselves and one another in times of artistic and intellectual repression. Unfortunately, aside from general introductory essays and a few explanatory notes, Goetz-Stankiewicz ( The Silenced Theater ) provides pk little assistance in clarifying the subtler or culture-specific aspects of the more complex pieces. (July)
Library Journal
This fascinating selection of ``unofficial,'' self-published texts documents the wealth of Czechoslovakia's parallel culture and the spiritual resilience of its banned authors during Communist domination. Divided into three sections--literature, cultural and political essays, and philosophical texts--these 36 pieces present a broad spectrum of voices reflecting the experience of totalitarianism. The literary texts range from poignant allegories to intensely personal commentaries and include the works of writers known here (Vaculik, Klima, and Hrabal) as well as newcomers (Kliment, Pecka, Tatarka, and Kriseova). The remaining essays are dominated by the theme of ``life in truth,'' as writers such as Havel and Kanturkova differentiate their independent thought from the official ideology. This thoughtfully prepared anthology, with informative section introductions, bibliographical notes, and a list of 250 banned writers, will be of interest to both lay readers and specialists.--Marie Bednar, Pennsylvania State Univ. Libs., University Park
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810110359
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 12/4/1992
  • Pages: 309
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword
Editor's Introduction and Acknowledgments
Translators' Introduction
Forbidden Writers in Czechoslovakia
Pt. I Literature
Samizdat Literature: An Introduction 3
The Black Thread (1970) 7
The Eyeglasses (1974) 20
Golem II (1977) 27
A Czech Fairy Tale (1976) 37
Uncle Anton's Coat (1977) 42
Mystery (1979) 47
Mr. George (1982) 50
Come Have a Taste (1982) 69
Morning in Church (1988) 88
Gottschalk (1988) 96
My Desk (1989) 110
In Retirement (1986) 114
A Padlock for Castle Schwarzenherg (1987) 118
The Last Say (1989) 127
The Magic Flute (1989) 130
Pt. II Cultural & Sociopolitical Perspectives
Living Intellects: An Introduction 137
What Charter 77 Is and What It Is Not (1977) 142
Dialogue on Questions (1985) 145
Kunderian Paradoxes (1985) 153
We Central East Europeans (1977) 160
Only a Postscript (1989) 166
Bohumil Hrabal in 1989 (1989) 170
On the Ethics of Palach's Deed (1989) 175
The "Gray Zone" and the Future of Dissent in Czechoslovakia (1989); Epilogue (1990) 181
The Mirror of Communist Discourse (1989) 193
Second Wind (1976) 205
Last Conversation (1977) 211
Pt. III Philosophical Texts
Czech Philosophy in Samizdat: An Introduction 217
Modes of Cognition (1985) 222
On Hard and Soft Style in Philosophy (1985) 233
On Uncertain Reality and the Possibility of an Agreement (1985) 240
The Conception of Truth and Its Meontological Preconditions (1985) 246
Philosophy as Personal Experience and the Others (1985) 256
"My" Philosophy (1985) 267
Ego Dormio (1985) 275
Five Letters behind the Golden Curtain (1986) 285
Notes on Contributors 295
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