Peter Zusi on Karel Teige, teaching Czech literature – and a notable school band reunion

Photo: YouTube

The Integrity of the Avant-Garde: Karel Teige and the Biography of an Ambition is the title of a book set for publication next month. Its author is US-born Peter Zusi, associate professor of Czech and Comparative Literature at the University of London. Zusi discusses his interest in Czech modernist prime mover Teige in a conversation that also takes in his own teaching work – and teenage years in a rock band with a future movie star.

Peter, you’re from New York – what led you to Czech?

“Cherchez la femme: My wife is Czech. I was in graduate school when we met. I was doing Comparative Literature, and primarily German Literature, but then when I was working on my dissertation we decided we would live in Prague, because it was possible.

“We figured events would take us back to the States afterwards. And then when I was there I just started poking around among certain authors who became interesting to me.

“I ended up including one chapter in my dissertation that was on Karel Tiege and the Czech avant-garde.

“Then when I finished the first job I got was in Czech literature and it has been, as they say, all history from there.”

See the rest here.

Author: Ian Willoughby