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

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Penguin, 1990 - Fiction - 752 pages
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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 armys most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of World War Ialthough 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 Parrotts vibrant translation conveys the brilliant irreverence of this classic about a hapless Everyman caught in a vast bureaucratic machine. Brilliant . . . Perhaps the funniest novel ever written. George Monbiot
  

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Contents

THE GOOD SOLDIER SVEJK Part I Behind the Lines Preface i
3
The Good Soldier Svejk at Police Headquarters
15
Svejk before the Medical Experts
24
Svejk Thrown out of the Lunatic Asylum
31
Svejk at the Police Station in Salmova Street
37
Svejk Home Again after having Broken through the Vicious Circle
44
Svejk Goes to the War
55
Svejk the Malingerer
62
Epilogue to Part I
214
At the Front
217
Svejks Misadventures in the Train
230
Svejks Budejovice Anabasis 219
241
Svejks Adventures in Kiralyhida
311
New Sufferings
371
From Brack an dcr Leitha to Sokal
396
Across Hungary
447

Svejk in the Garrison Gaol
79
Svejk Batman to the Chaplain
99
Svejk Goes with the Chaplain to Celebrate a Drumhead Mass
125
A Religious Debate
134
Svejk Administers Extreme Unction
141
Svejk Batman to Lieutenant Lukai
156
Catastrophe
201
In Budapest
508
From Hatvan towards the Galician Frontier
565
Forward March
616
Svejk in a Transport of Russian Prisoners
671
Spiritual Consolation
698
Svejk back in his March Company
708
Copyright

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About the author (1990)

Even though Jaroslav Hasek wrote a large number of short stories, his fame rests mainly on his satirical novel The Good Soldier Schweik (1920--23), in which he created the fat and cowardly dog-catcher-gone-to-war who personified Czech bitterness toward Austria in World War I. The humorous complications in which Schweik becomes involved derive from Hasek's own experience; his work as a journalist was interrupted by war and, like Schweik, he became a soldier. Eventually, he was taken prisoner by the Russians. Later he returned to Prague as a communist to work as a free-lance writer. At his death he had completed only four "Schweik" novels of a projected six. Martin Esslin has said, "Schweik is more than a mere character; he represents a basic human attitude. Schweik defeats the powers that be, the whole universe in its absurdity, not by opposing but by complying with them. . . In the end the stupidity of the authorities, the idiocy of the law are ruthlessly exposed." The character of Schweik made a tremendous impression on Bertolt Brecht, who transformed his name to use him afresh in the play Schweyk in the Second World War.

Sir Cecil Parrott (1909-1984), diplomat, translator, writer and scholar, is best known for his definitive translation of Jaroslav Haek's "The Good Soldier vejk". He also wrote two autobiographical volumes, "The Tightrope" and "The Serpent and the Nightingale" as well as his biography of Jaroslav Haek, "The Bad Bohemian" (reissued in Faber Finds as is his translation of some of Haek's short stories, "The Red Commissar")). His diplomatic career culminated with his posting to Prague where he was the British Ambassador from 1960 to 1966. On retiring from the Foreign Office, he became first Professor of Russian and Soviet Studies and later Professor of Central and South-Eastern European Studies and Director of the Comenius Centre at the University of Lancaster.

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