The Good Soldier Svejk: and His Fortunes in the World War

( 5 )

Overview

In The Good Soldier Svejk, celebrated Czech writer and anarchist Jaroslav Hasek combined dazzling wordplay and piercing satire in a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war.

Good-natured and garrulous, Svejk becomes the Austrian army’s most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of World War I—although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. Playing cards and getting drunk, he uses all his cunning and...

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Overview

In The Good Soldier Svejk, celebrated Czech writer and anarchist Jaroslav Hasek combined dazzling wordplay and piercing satire in a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war.

Good-natured and garrulous, Svejk becomes the Austrian army’s most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of World War I—although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. Playing cards and getting drunk, he uses all his cunning and genial subterfuge to deal with the police, clergy, and officers who chivy him toward battle. Cecil Parrott’s vibrant translation conveys the brilliant irreverence of this classic about a hapless Everyman caught in a vast bureaucratic machine.

  • Introduction discusses Hasek's turbulent life as an anarchist, communist, and vagrant
  • Includes a pronunciation guide to Czech names, three maps, and the original illustrations by Josef Lada
  • The unabridged and unbowdlerized translation
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140449914
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/27/2005
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 784
  • Sales rank: 204,080
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Jaroslav Hasek (1883—1923) wrote, in addition to this masterpiece, more than 2,000 short works, stories, glosses, and sketches, mostly under various pen names. Born in Bohemia, he spent several years in Russian prison camps, and died at Lipnice in Czechoslovakia.
Cecil Parrott was Hasek's biographer as well as the best-known translator of his work.
Josef Lada was an artist and illustrator and friend of Hasek's from 1907.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2005

    Humble greatness...

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2004

    Hasek

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2001

    Svejk Forever

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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