Journalism of Milena Jesenska

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"Jesenská's essays offer firsthand observations on a society that was slowly imploding between the years 1920 and 1939 [and] will certainly encourage lively classroom debates (especially in women's studies, political science and history courses) concerning politics, the condition of women, and social problems of yesterday and today." · Slavic and East European Journal

Milena Jesenská, born in Prague in 1896, is most famous as one of Franz Kafka's great loves. Although their relationship lasted only a short time, it won the attention of the literary world with the 1952 publication of Kafka's letters to Milena. Her own letters did not survive. Later biographies showed her as a fascinating personality in her own right. In the Czech Republic, she is remembered as one of the most prominent journalists of the interwar period and as a brave one: in 1939 she was arrested for her work in the resistance after the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, and died in Ravensbrück concentration camp in 1944.

It is estimated that Jesenská wrote well over 1,000 articles but only a handful have been translated into English. In this book her own writings provide a new perspective on her personality, as well as the changes in Central Europe between the two world wars as these were perceived by a woman of letters. The articles in this volume cover a wide range of topics, including her perceptions of Kafka, her understanding of social and cultural changes during this period, the threat of Nazism, and the plight of the Jews in the 1930s.

Kathleen Hayes received her Ph.D from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London, and has taught Czech literature and history at Charles University and New York University in Prague.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571815606
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 242
  • Sales rank: 1,043,760
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Hayes received her Ph.D from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London, and has taught Czech literature and history at Charles University and New York University in Prague.

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Table of Contents

A Note on the Text
I Articles from Tribuna, 1920-1922
What People Eat in Vienna 49
The New Big-City Type 53
Bathing Costumes 57
The New Big-City Type II 60
The Cafe 64
The Letters of Eminent People 67
Shop-Windows 70
The Household and Overalls 73
Dance over the Abyss 76
Children 81
My Friend 86
Mysterious Redemption 91
Melancholy in the Rain 95
Superficial Small Talk about a Serious Subject 98
II Articles from Narodni listy and Lidove noviny, 1922-1929
On the Psychology of the New Society 103
Devil at the Hearth 107
The Bath, the Body and Elegance 112
A Few Old-Fashioned Comments About Women's Emancipation 115
A Theme that has nothing to do with Fashion 120
A Beautiful Woman 123
From One Person to Another 126
The Curse of Outstanding Qualities 130
For Whom Do We Write About Fashion in the Newspapers? 134
Baby 138
A Cry for Independence 141
Civilised Woman? 144
III Articles from Pritomnost, 1938-1939
Judge Lynch in Europe 149
There will be no Anschluss 157
Hundreds of Thousands Looking for No-Man's-Land 167
Beyond Our Strength 178
What Remains of the Communist Party? 183
Married Women out of Work 188
In No-Man's-Land 193
Good Advice is Better than Gold 198
Prague, the Morning of 15 March 1939 205
The Art of Standing Still 210
Am I, First and Foremost, Czech? 214
Soldaten wohnen auf den Kanonen ... 218
Bibliography 225
Index 229
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