The Good Soldier Svejk: and His Fortunes in the World Warby Jaroslav Hasek, Josef Lada
The inspiration for such works as Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Jaroslav Hašek's black satire The Good Soldier Švejk is translated with an introduction by Cecil Parrott in Penguin Classics. Good-natured and garrulous, Švejk becomes the Austro-Hungarian army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of the First World War - although… See more details below
The inspiration for such works as Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Jaroslav Hašek's black satire The Good Soldier Švejk is translated with an introduction by Cecil Parrott in Penguin Classics. Good-natured and garrulous, Švejk becomes the Austro-Hungarian army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of the First World War - although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. Playing cards, getting drunk and becoming a general nuisance, the resourceful Švejk uses all his natural cunning and genial subterfuge to deal with the doctors, police, clergy and officers who chivvy him towards battle. The story of a 'little man' caught in a vast bureaucratic machine, The Good Soldier Švejk combines dazzling wordplay and piercing satire to create a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war. Cecil Parrott's vibrant, unabridged and unbowdlerized translation is accompanied by an introduction discussing Hašek's turbulent life as an anarchist, communist and vagranty, and the Everyman character of Švejk. This edition also includes a guide to Czech names, maps and original illustrations by Josef Ladas. Jaroslav Hašek (1883-1923) Besides this book, the writer wrote more than 2,000 short works, short stories, glosses, sketches, mostly under various pen-names. If you enjoyed The Good Soldier Švejk, you might like Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Brilliant ... perhaps the funniest novel ever written' George Monbiot 'Hašek was a comic genius' Sunday Times 'Hašek was a humorist of the highest calibre....A later age will perhaps put him on a level with Cervantes and Rabelais' Max Brod
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- 5.03(w) x 7.79(h) x 1.35(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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If you like literature - you will love this book. It's as simple as that. The humor is umimitable, the characters are not only vivid and memorable, but also very very real. They are still among us, and you will, in fact, recognize them as you read. The plot is very interesting, but it fades in comparison with the character of Shejk. He is unique, there is noone like him in literature. After reading the book he will become a friend to you, and his presence will never leave you afterwards. He is truly great. And just as a sidenote - this is a must-read for everyone who either wants to learn about Eastern European culture, or will go there anytime soon - that part of the world has not changed much since Shejk walked the earth.
Svejk is a haunting fellow, even weeks after `living¿ with him through his haunts in Czech Republic, I still think about his exploits. Many people must remember the American on the train or in the hostel laughing out loud while he read. Svejk clearly is not stupid, he plays the idiot automatically when it benefits him. He knows that the front line will not be good for him, but is loyal to his Lt up to suggesting that he take the punishment for his Lt.¿s hedonistic tendencies. One thing that bothered me is the coincidence of the story about the editor that made up animals for his periodicals. This is eerily similar to Samuel Clemens¿ short story about editing a country journal. The story does get long in parts, rehashing times in the ¿gaol¿ or his ¿guzzling¿ fellow soldiers. I think Heller must¿ve drawn `inspiration¿ from Hasek, so perhaps it¿s simply being passed on¿ The Army has not changed over 100 years and a continent away. Nobody knows what¿s going on and if you have some power¿ The portrayal of war is equivalent to Remarque¿s All Quiet on the Western Front, but seemingly forgotten today. The history of Hasek face to face with this writing was constantly in mind as I read.
This is a wonderfully satiric book that I've read 5 times. It pokes fun not only at the martial mentality, but also empires and petty officials and most other people as well. Hasek fits more anecdotal stories into this than any other book I've read. Also, if you enjoy Eastern European culture: food and drink and liquor, you'll love this novel. Svejk would be a wonderful guest any time you're at a pub or a party.