Literary Criticism

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An Introduction to Twentieth-Century Czech Fiction

Comedies of Defiance

Author Text to Follow

This book is a lucid and balanced appraisal of some of the best Czech fiction of the twentieth century. The Introduction sets out some of the chief features of Czech literature, notably its preoccupations with lyricism, civic-mindedness, and comedy. There follow chapters on Capek, Hašek, Hrabal, Škvorecký, Pavel, Klíma, and a final chapter on Hodrová, Viewegh and Topol. The book spans the entire century from the newly created Czechoslovakia after 1918, through the years of Nazi occupation and Communist rule, the Prague Spring and finally on to the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-902210-80-3
Hardback Price: £45.00 / $65.00
Release Date: September 2001
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-902210-81-0
Paperback Price: £15.95 / $29.95
Release Date: September 2001
Page Extent / Format: 240 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No




Jaroslav Hašek: Surviving the century
Karel Capek: Whose point of view?
Bohumil Hrabal: Small people and tall tales
Josef Škvorecký: Fascism, Communism and all that jazz
Ota Pavel: Laughter in the dark
Ivan Klíma: Conscience and moral conundrums
Daniela Hodrová, Michal Viewegh, Jáchym Topol: New voices?

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A wonderful introduction to twentieth-century Czech literature will undoubtedly become required reading in any course on Czech or Central and East European literature.
Slavic and East European Journal

Competent, important, useful. Students will love it. Afficionados of Czech literature even more.
Arnošt Lustig

“Among the many qualities of Robert Porter's book is the fact that it is able to address readers who have little knowledge of Czech literature… It is also attractive reading which could well motivate English-speaking lovers of literature to become better and more deeply acquainted with Czech fiction.” Slavic Review

“One cannot praise enough Porter’s method of representing Czech fiction of the twentieth century by the in-depth study of a few, but well-chosen, prose writers. Clear, competent and useful.” Modern Language Review

“The volume is thoughtfully put together so as to be accessible to the non-specialist and language learner alike.” World Literature Today

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