“Švejk is incredibly topical today”: Manuscript of classic shown in Prague

Photo: Ian Willoughby, Radio Prague International

Jaroslav Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk is one of the most popular Czech books ever published. So it was a special occasion when the original manuscript of the classic novel was exhibited to the public for one day only on Tuesday by Prague’s Museum of Czech Literature.

The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War, to give it its full title, is said to be the most translated work in Czech literature and has fans around the world.

On Tuesday, 172 pages of Jaroslav Hašek’s original manuscript of the first part of the great unfinished comic novel went on display – for one day only – at Prague’s Museum of Czech Literature.

Museum archivist Petr Kotyk is the curator of the small but captivating show.

“The manuscript shows that Hašek was well aware of the kind of work he was writing. In the first ‘notebook’ edition he said, ‘Throw away your Tarzan and put Švejk on your bookshelves – this is a revolution in Czech and world literature.’

“They sold the notebooks around the pubs but also written on them was: ‘This is now coming out in the US, France and Germany and it’s a work of world importance.’

“And that was just the first few dozen pages.”

See the rest here.

Author: Ian Willoughby