The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War: Translated by Cecil Parrott. with Original Illustrations by Josef Lada.


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$18.99  $17.47
Harper Perennial
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5.3 X 1.6 X 7.8 inches | 1.2 pounds
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About the Author

Jaroslav Hasek (1883-1923) is one of the most recognised Czech writers. He is the author of Osudy dobrého vojáka Svejka za světové války [The Adventures of the Good Soldier Svejk in the World War, 1921/23]. Left unfinished at his death, it is one of the greatest humorous novels in world literature, centring on the comings and goings of Josef Svejk, dog thief, falsifier of pedigrees, and generally unflappable, beer-soaked goodfellow from Prague. Innocent to the point of pathology, Svejk keeps the reader in a state of uncertainty. Is he an idiot, or the smartest schemer to grace the earth? Before the war, Hasek made his living as a writer of feuilletons for various satirical magazines, and as a reporter who was not above making up interesting stories to boost readership. His inventions of animals for the naturalist periodical Animal World, including an advertisement for werewolves as "companions that can replace the dog in all things" are the stuff of legend. He also once ran for political office, as a candidate of the farcical Party of Moderate Progress within the Bounds of the Law. Called to the colours at the outbreak of the First World War, he took the first occasion to cross the lines into voluntary Russian captivity - despite having been recommended for a medal of valour while serving with the Austrian army. His Russian "sojourn" lasted six years. During his time in Sovietising Russia, he joined the Red Army and the Communist Party. For a while he served as one of the town commandants of the small Siberian city of Bugulma. His experiences during that period of his life resulted in nine of the stories included in this volume, which he began publishing after his return to Czechoslovakia in 1920. Jaroslav Hasek wrote some 1,200 short stories and articles during his short life. The Secret History of My Sojourn in Russia presents the reader with 52 of the most entertaining, and chilling, examples of his Russian period, containing both humorous fiction and deadly serious propaganda.


"Without Svejk, Joseph Heller has said, there would have been no Catch-22."--The Guardian
"Hasek was a comic genius."--Sunday Times (London)
"Rich and ranging, endlessly inventive. ... The predicaments of Svejk in an absurd world still continue. And the laughter echoes."--Los Angeles Times
"[Svejk] is one of the great characters of 20th-century literature. ... [Hasek] captures the flavor of life in early-century Prague. ... Hasek's honesty, clarity of detail, and pawky restraint have made The Good Soldier Svejk a near classic."--New Republic
"All the good adjectives apply to [this novel]: robust, bawdy, sly, hugely comic and astonishingly inventive; it is also singularly undemanding on its readers. ... A very funny novel and a wise one."--Newsweek
"Continues to have an astonishing afterlife. ... Commonly cited as an ancestor of Joseph Heller's Catch-22... [its] continued resonance suggests how deep a nerve Hasek touched. His comic hero highlights the illogic of war so brilliantly that Svejk's character has been absorbed into Western culture."--New York Times
"[A] comic masterpiece."--Telegraph (UK)
"The classic comic novel of the First World War."--New Yorker
"One of the greatest works of 20th century literature."--Boston Globe
"Brilliant. ... Perhaps the funniest novel ever written."--George Monbiot, The Guardian
"A literary masterpiece."--New York Review of Books
"Anyone in power, including the president would benefit from Jaroslav Hasek's The Good Soldier Svejk. ... First because it would make them laugh, and then because it is the best antiwar novel I know."--Colm Toibin, New York Times
"Joseph Heller's literary predecessor. ... Jaroslav Hasek's classic The Good Soldier Svejk set the bar for 20th-century military satire."--Washington Post
"One of the masterpieces of Czech comic literature."--Time Out