|Original title||Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války|
|Translator||Paul Selver, Cecil Parrott, Zdeněk "Zenny" K. Sadloň|
|Cover artist||Josef Lada|
|Genre||Satire, black comedy|
|Set in||Central and Eastern Europe, 1914–15|
|Publisher||Book 1: A. Sauer and V. Čermák |
Book 2: Jaroslav Hašek (distributor A. Synek)Books 3 & 4: Jaroslav Hašek's Estate (distributor A. Synek)
Published in English
|1930 (Selver), 1973 (Parrott), 2000 (Sadlon)|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover, Paperback) & Amazon Kindle|
|Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války at Czech Wikisource|
The Good Soldier Švejk [ˈʃvɛjk] ) is an unfinished satirical dark comedy novel by Czech writer Jaroslav Hašek, published in 1921–1923, about a good-humored, simple-minded middle-aged man who pretends to be enthusiastic to serve Austria-Hungary in World War I.(pronounced
The book is also the most translated novel of Czech literature, having been translated into over 50 languages.
The Good Soldier Švejk is the abbreviated title, the original Czech title of the work is Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války, literally The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War.
Hašek originally intended Švejk to cover a total of six volumes, but had completed only three (and started on the fourth) upon his death from heart failure on January 3, 1923.
The novel as a whole was originally illustrated (after Hašek's death) by Josef Lada and more recently by Czech illustrator Petr Urban.
The volumes are:
Following Hašek's death, journalist Karel Vaněk was asked by the publisher Adolf Synek to complete the unfinished novel. Vaněk finished the fourth book in 1923 and in the same year also released the fifth and the sixth volumes, titled Švejk in Captivity (Švejk v zajetí) and Švejk in Revolution (Švejk v revoluci). Novels were published until 1949. In 1991 volumes 5 and 6 were again released as Švejk in Russian Captivity and Revolution (Švejk v Ruském zajetí a v revoluci), in two volumes or combined.
The novel is set during World War I in Austria-Hungary, a multi-ethnic empire full of long-standing ethnic tensions. Fifteen million people died in the war, one million of them Austro-Hungarian soldiers including around 140,000 who were Czechs. Jaroslav Hašek participated in this conflict and examined it in The Good Soldier Švejk.
Many of the situations and characters seem to have been inspired, at least in part, by Hašek's service in the 91st Infantry Regiment of the Austro-Hungarian Army. The novel also deals with broader anti-war themes: essentially a series of absurdly comic episodes, it explores the pointlessness and futility of conflict in general and of military discipline, Austrian military discipline in particular. Many of its characters, especially the Czechs, are participating in a conflict they do not understand on behalf of an empire to which they have no loyalty.
The character of Josef Švejk is a development of this theme. Through (possibly feigned) idiocy or incompetence he repeatedly manages to frustrate military authority and expose its stupidity in a form of passive resistance: the reader is left unclear, however, as to whether Švejk is genuinely incompetent, or acting quite deliberately with dumb insolence. These absurd events reach a climax when Švejk, wearing a Russian uniform, is mistakenly taken prisoner by his own side.
In addition to satirising Habsburg authority, Hašek repeatedly sets out corruption and hypocrisy attributed to priests of the Catholic Church.
The story begins in Prague with news of the assassination in Sarajevo that precipitates World War I.
Švejk displays such enthusiasm about faithfully serving the Austrian Emperor in battle that no one can decide whether he is merely an imbecile or is craftily undermining the war effort. He is arrested by a member of the state police, Bretschneider, after making some politically insensitive remarks, and is sent to prison. After being certified insane he is transferred to a madhouse, before being ejected.
Švejk gets his charwoman to wheel him (he claims to be suffering from rheumatism) to the recruitment offices in Prague, where his apparent zeal causes a minor sensation. He is transferred to a hospital for malingerers because of his rheumatism. He finally joins the army as batman to army chaplain Otto Katz; Katz loses him at cards to Senior Lieutenant Lukáš, whose batman he then becomes.
Lukáš is posted with his march battalion to barracks in České Budějovice, in Southern Bohemia, preparatory to being sent to the front. After missing all the trains to Budějovice, Švejk embarks on a long anabasis on foot around Southern Bohemia in a vain attempt to find Budějovice, before being arrested as a possible spy and deserter (a charge he strenuously denies) and escorted to his regiment.
The regiment is soon transferred to Bruck an der Leitha, a town on the border between Austria and Hungary. Here, where relations between the two nationalities are somewhat sensitive, Švejk is again arrested, this time for causing an affray involving a respectable Hungarian citizen and engaging in a street fight. He is also promoted to company orderly.
The unit embarks on a long train journey towards Galicia and the Eastern Front. Close to the front line, Švejk is taken prisoner by his own side as a suspected Russian deserter, after arriving at a lake and trying on an abandoned Russian uniform. Narrowly avoiding execution, he manages to rejoin his unit. The unfinished novel breaks off abruptly before Švejk has a chance to be involved in any combat or enter the trenches, though it appears Hašek may have conceived that the characters would have continued the war in a POW camp, much as he himself had done.
The book includes numerous anecdotes told by Švejk (often either to deflect the attentions of an authority figure or to insult them in a concealed manner) which are not directly related to the plot.
The characters of The Good Soldier Švejk are generally either used as the butt of Hašek's absurdist humour or represent fairly broad social and ethnic stereotypes found in the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time. People are often distinguished by the dialect and register of Czech or German they speak, a quality that does not translate easily. Many German- and Polish-speaking characters, for example, are shown as speaking comedically broken or heavily accented Czech, while many Czechs speak broken German; much use is also made of slang expressions.
Some characters are to varying degrees based on real people who served with the Imperial and Royal 91st Infantry Regiment, in which Hašek served as a one-year volunteer. (Much research has been conducted into this issue and the results are part of the catalog of all 585 people, both real and fictitious, that appear in the novel.)
A number of literary critics consider The Good Soldier Švejk to be one of the first anti-war novels, predating Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front . Joseph Heller said that if he had not read The Good Soldier Švejk, he would never have written his novel Catch-22 .
Sue Arnold, writing in The Guardian , stated "Every harassed negotiator, every beleaguered political wife and anyone given to ever-increasing moments of melancholy at the way things are should keep a copy of Hasek's classic 'don't let the bastards get you down' novel to hand. It's anti-war, anti-establishment, anti-religion and - praise indeed - even funnier than Catch-22."
The seeming idiocy and suspected subversion of Švejk has entered the Czech language in the form of words such as švejkovina ("švejking"), švejkovat ("to švejk"), švejkárna (situational and systemic absurdity), etc.The name has also entered the English dictionary, in the form of Schweik, "A person likened to the character of Schweik, pictured as an unlucky and simple-minded but resourceful little man oppressed by higher authorities," and the derivative forms to Schweik, Schweikism, and Schweikist.
In the British television documentary Hollywood (1979), a history of American silent films, director Frank Capra claimed the screen character of comedian Harry Langdon, which Capra helped to formulate, was partially inspired by The Good Soldier Švejk.
At Prague's NATO summit in 2002, a man dressed as the Good Soldier and using Svejk's typical crutches to support himself, appeared at an anti-alliance protest, shouting at the top of his voice: "To Baghdad, Mrs Muller, to Baghdad...", showing just how deep the character is etched on the Czech psyche.
Švejk is the subject of films, plays, an opera, a musical, comic books, and statues, even the theme of restaurants in a number of European countries. The novel is also the subject of an unpublished operetta by Peter Gammond. Švejk has statues and monuments for example in Humenné in Slovakia, Przemyśl and Sanok in Poland, in Russia Saint Petersburg, Omsk and Bugulma and in Ukraine Kyiv, Lviv and Donetsk; in Cracow there is a plaque on a building where the author was imprisoned for 7 days for vagrancy by the Austrian authorities. There has been speculation that Hašek got the idea for Švejk at that time, based on one of his fellow prisoners in the jail.The first statue of Švejk in the Czech Republic was unveiled in August 2014, in the village of Putim in South Bohemia.
It is the most translated novel of Czech literature (58 languages in 2013).Excerpts of Der Brave Soldat Schwejk Chapter 1, translated into German by Max Brod, were published two days after Hašek's death in the Prague German language paper, Prager Tagblatt, January 5, 1923. Following Max Brod's first steps toward a German translation, he introduced the book to Grete Reiner, Executive Editor of the anti-fascist magazine Deutsche Volkszeitung. Her translation of Švejk into German in 1926 was largely responsible for the speedy dissemination of Švejk's fame across Europe. It was one of the books burned by the National Socialists in 1933. Her translation was said to be one of Bertolt Brecht's favourite books. Grete Reiner-Straschnow was murdered in Auschwitz on 9 March 1944. After the war, many other translations followed and Švejk became the most famous Czech book abroad.
Three English-language translations of Švejk have been published:
The first translation by Paul Selver was heavily abridged, reducing the novel to about two thirds of its original length.Selver's translation also bowdlerized the original text, omitting paragraphs and occasionally pages that may have seemed offensive: despite this he has been praised for preserving some of the tension in the work between Literary and Common Czech. Cecil Parrott, former British ambassador to Czechoslovakia, produced the first unabridged translation of the work. The translation by Sadloň (and Book One collaborator Joyce) is the latest, American translation by a native Czech speaker.
Jaroslav Hašek was a Czech writer, humorist, satirist, journalist, bohemian and anarchist. He is best known for his novel The Fate of the Good Soldier Švejk during the World War, an unfinished collection of farcical incidents about a soldier in World War I and a satire on the ineptitude of authority figures. The novel has been translated into about 60 languages, making it the most translated novel in Czech literature.
Josef Lada was a Czech painter, illustrator and writer. He is best known as the illustrator of Jaroslav Hašek's World War I novel The Good Soldier Švejk, having won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1963.
Jiří Trnka was a Czech puppet-maker, illustrator, motion-picture animator and film director.
Hašek is a Czech surname. The feminine gender is Hašková. Notable people with the surname include:
Vadim Petrov was a Czech composer of Russian-Czech descent.
The Good Soldier may refer to:
Guido Turchi was an Italian composer and writer on music.
Sir Cecil Cuthbert Parrott was a British diplomat, translator, writer and scholar. His son, Jasper Parrott, was born on 8 September 1944.
The Good Soldier Schweik is a 1931 Czechoslovak black-and-white comedy film directed by Martin Frič, based on Jaroslav Hašek's novel The Good Soldier Švejk.
Sotha is a French actress, playwright, screenwriter, film & stage director, and composer. Her real name is Catherine Sigaux. She was one of the founders of the Café de la Gare where she acted and co-wrote many of the plays.
The Good Soldier Schweik is a 1960 West German comedy film directed by Axel von Ambesser. Based on the satirical novel The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek it depicts the adventures of a simple Czech soldier during World War I.
Vlastimil Emil Košvanec was a Czech painter, graphic designer and illustrator.
The Good Soldier Schweik(Czech: Dobrý voják Švejk) is a 1956 Czech color antiwar comedy film written and directed by Karel Steklý. It was based on famous novel The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek and was nominated for the 1957 Crystal Globe Awards. It was followed by a 1957 sequel I Dutifully Report(Czech: Poslušně hlásím).
The Good Soldier Švejk is a common abbreviation of the title of the 1920s WW1 novel by Jaroslav Hašek as wall as an epithet of its eponymous anti-hero, Private Josef Švejk.
The Good Soldier Schweik is a 1955 Czechoslovak animated film directed by Jiří Trnka based on the novel The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek. Its length is 76 minutes and consists of three episodes, From Hatvan to Halič, Švejk train accidents and Švejk Budějovice anabasi. Narrator: Jan Werich.
I Dutifully Report is a 1958 Czechoslovak comedy film directed by Karel Steklý. It is the sequel to The Good Soldier Schweik.
The statue of Jaroslav Hašek is an outdoor monument and equestrian statue by Karel Nepraš and Karolína Neprašová, installed at Prokopovo náměstí in the Žižkov district of Prague, Czech Republic. The sculpture was installed in 2005, having been completed by Nepraš's daughter Karolína after his death. It is located in an area where Hašek lived during writing of his famous novel The Good Soldier Švejk.
The Good Soldier Schweik is a 1926 Czech black-and-white silent era comedy film directed by Karel Lamač, based on Jaroslav Hašek's novel The Good Soldier Švejk. The first of the Czech films starring Karel Noll, as the Good Soldier Švejk. Of these, it was the most closely based on the original, unfinished novel. Subsequent films continued the original story.
Grete Reiner was a Czech-German magazine editor and writer, who is notable for being the first translator of The Good Soldier Schwejk, the antimilitarist satirical novel by Jaroslav Hašek.
The Good Soldier Schweik is an opera in 2 acts by Robert Kurka with an English language libretto by Lewis Allan based on Jaroslav Hašek's 1921 novel The Good Soldier Švejk. Premiered by the New York City Opera just four months after the composer's death in 1958, the work uses some musical material from Kurka's earlier instrumental piece The Good Soldier Schweik Suite, which was premiered by The Little Orchestra Society in 1952. At the time of his death, Kurka had completed the opera in piano score form but had not fully completed the opera's orchestrations. His friend, the composer Hershy Kay, completed the orchestrations for the last scenes of the opera based on ideas for instrumentation that Kurka had written into the piano score with red pen. The work is scored for a small ensemble of just 16 instruments, which consist solely of woodwinds, brass, and percussion. The music has its routes in Czech folk and dance music with traditional forms like the polka and furiant being developed through a high art classical music lens that eschews lyricism for an edgy tautness.
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