The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War

The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War

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Author/Editor: Hasek, Jaroslav
Publisher: Heinemann Educational Books
Date: 1973
Binding: Hardcover. Text in English. 752 p. Audience: General/trade.
Condition: USED - Very good. An unmarked copy with tight binding and minimal edge wear.

A new translation of this classic Czech comic novel, with all the original illustrations by Hasek's friend Josef Lada, is published to commemorate the author's death on 3 January 1923.

This is the first unabridged and unbowdlerised English translation of the novel, replacing a version that reduced the book by about one-third. As Sir Cecil Parrott says at the close of his excellent Translator's Note, "The omission of stories because they are 'dirty' or of allusions to monarchs or the deity because they might be treasonable or blasphemous could not really be justified in 1930 and certainly would be indefensible in 1973. Today the Good Soldier Svejk must stand as  he is, without any figleaf". There is also an Introduction in which Sir Cecil gives a brief "Life" of the author and discusses the circumstances, quality and reception of his work.

Svejk is "Mr. Everyman", caught in the bureaucratic cogwheels of the First World War. Discharged from military service for notorious idiocy, he seems the one sane person in an upside-down world. The novel progresses in a series of episodes and diversions as Svejk finds himself classed as a malingerer, put in detention, gambled away at cards by a drunken chaplain or gets vital messages mixed up, as he draws nearer and nearer to the Front. Like Don Quixote's tilting at windmills, Svejk's particular brand of resistance against insuperable force has become a byword, and an example that was adopted by the Czechs against all invaders and occupiers, whether German or Russian.