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Švejk [shvāke] Svejk

This blog is dedicated to the title character of The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War and his creator, Jaroslav Hašek.

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Friday, June 04, 2004


"Like Diogenes, Švejk lingers at the margins of an unfriendly society against which he is defending his independent existence." Peter Steiner, 'Tropos Kynikos'.

One fact is undeniable: the method has been so popular and successful that political, military, and intellectual leaders at times feel the need to openly decry it and those who are suspected of employing it. The novel was banned from the Czechoslovak army in 1925, the Polish translation was confiscated in 1928, the Bulgarian translation was suppressed in 1935, and the German translation burned on Nazi bonfires in 1933. Gustáv Husák, the General Secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party who replaced the Prague Spring reformer Alexander Dubček in that post after the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia, and assumed the Presidency as well, exhorted the population in a speech during the 1970's period of the so-called "normalization" to STOP ŠVEJKING!!!

Švejk is indeed an ascending hero for our time. Not because we desire it or prefer it on the basis of some intellectual abstraction, a result of scientific endeavor, or any other sublime exercise of reason. It is a matter of survival in the inhospitable circumstances of the ever more complex and absurd entanglements of the postmodern society we have become. Survival, after all, is not a sufficient, but the first necessary condition for realizing other, higher order goals, lofty or otherwise. And Švejk represents one of the most unique survival strategies ever conceived by man.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said.


11:05 PM  

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