Share to Gab

"Several people have asked why our edition of Švejk does not contain the famous illustrations by Josef Lada. It is said that the book and the pictures are virtually inseparable. (We find that Americans do not respond to Lada's pictures as enthusiastically as one would hope.) 

"After a long consideration we decided not to use Lada’s illustrations. For one, Hašek had never seen and therefore had neither authorized them. And two, they significantly differ from the one picture which Hašek did see and which adorned the cover of the serial booklets, the format of Švejk’s originally published edition. 

"The main reason however was that Švejk is a very complex character, but Lada’s illustrations shift the character of Josef Švejk onto a plane of a clown or even a buffoon. (That certainly did not bother the communist rulers who, if Hašek were still alive, would have sent him and his Švejk to the uranium mines for reeducation.).

"Hašek's book is a masterpiece of satire, not comedy. We decided that Jaroslav Hašek would address readers of English alone, using only his text (albeit merely in our as-faithful-as-possible translation.)"

From the original comments published in
Slovo Volume 1, Number 2 Winter 2000


P.S.: Twenty three years after publishing Book One as an EVY file and distributing it on two 31/2 inch diskettes we inquired with the copyright owner, the great-grandson of Josef Lada, about the availability of license to use the cover art of the original, first and seriliazed Czech edition for the frontispiece of our Centennial Edition:

"Of course, I cannot and am not obliged to inform you about the conditions and agreements in the license agreements. So once again, I am not giving you permission to use the illustration - Josef Lada."

In our opinion, this only accentuates the tentions, and indeed incompatibility between Hašek's and Lada's point of view.

"In 1921 Hašek visited me in my apartment and asked that I draw the cover for the the serial booklets edition of the Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk. I got to working. I did not create the figure of Švejk according to some idea of my own, but according to Jaroslav Hašek's directions, as he portrayed him in his description. I drew the figure of Švejk as he is lighting up his pipe in the midst of flying grenades and rounds, exploding shrapnel. A good-natured face, calm expression from which it is apparent that he's clever, but can act stupid when necessary."

Josef Lada
quoted by Radko Pytlík in Toulavé house [The Wandering Gosling]

Švejk according to Jaroslav Hašek Švejk according to Josef Lada
#TheRealŠvejk The impostor buffoon Švejk