What do authoritative references say about this book:

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA: "... considered one of the greatest masterpieces of satirical writing." CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS: "... has been hailed as a masterwork, ... has been compared to the satires of British writer Jonathan Swift. ... Jaroslav Hasek has been compared to French satirist Francois Rabelais ... the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus ... to American writer Joseph Heller ..." CRITICAL SURVEY OF LONG FICTION - Foreign Language Series: "His great...masterpiece...book does not have a rival in its genre in this century ..." BERTOLT BRECHT: "If anyone asks me to pick three literary works of this century which in my opinion will become part of world literature, then I would say that one of them is Hasek's 'The Good Soldier Svejk'..." LESLIE A. FIEDLER: "...'terribly funny', we say putting down the book, and not taking the adverb seriously enough."

It seems unconscionable that Hasek's Good Soldier Švejk has been inaccessible to English readers for so long. What if Victor Hugo or Leo Tolstoy had been kept from us? It's hard to imagine literature without them.

Great book, published in 54 languages: original Czech, and in translation in Abkhazian, Albanian, Armenian, Azerian, Bakshirian, Bielorussian,, Bulgarian, Chinese, Chuvash, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, English, Finish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mari, Moldavian, Mongolian, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Rumanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Swedish, Tadzhik, Tartar, Turkish, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Vietnamese and Yiddish.Great book, published in 54 languages: original Czech, and in translation in Abkhazian, Albanian, Armenian, Azerian, Bakshirian, Bielorussian,, Bulgarian, Chinese, Chuvash, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, English, Finish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mari, Moldavian, Mongolian, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Rumanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Swedish, Tadzhik, Tartar, Turkish, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Vietnamese and Yiddish.It seems unconscionable that Hasek's work has been inaccessible to English readers for so long. What if Victor Hugo or Leo Tolstoy had been kept from us? It's hard to imagine literature without them. Let's reverse the situation. What if you suddenly became aware that, because of some problem with translation or some other oversight, Mark Twain's work had been virtually hidden from Europeans for 75 years? Most Americans would consider that a lamentable travesty. Well, that is what has happened to the Czech people in the case of Jaroslav Hasek. He and his work are practically non-existent in the English-reading world, an influential audience of at least 500 million people.

read by tens-, and most probably
hundreds-of-millions people
worldwide
filmed and dramatized several times

Hašek knew that a momentous, fundamental change in human history was occurring. For Central and Eastern Europe, it was the end of the old order. It was the demise of a social structure that had evolved from prehistoric times and affected every human life. Tribal and clan chieftains had evolved into Dukes, Counts and Lords, and then into Monarchs and Emperors. These despots caused and lost World War One and suddenly vanished. The decrepit empires were replaced by democratic republics, except in Russia where the bolsheviks instituted their own fatally flawed dictatorship and empire. However, as most historians agree, enough perverse elements and limbic memory of the old order remained in Central Europe to foment and fuel the biggest meatgrinder of them all, World War Two.

By the turn of the century Prague had become a boomtown. Large numbers of people had come to the city from the countryside to participate in the industrial revolution. The rise of a large working class spawned a cultural revolution. The empires of Central Europe ignored these intrinsic changes and became more and more decrepit and anachronistic. As the system decayed, it became absurd and irrelevant to ordinary people. When forced to respond to dissent, the imperial powers did so, more often than not, with hollow propaganda and repression.


A host of literary critics acknowledge that Jaroslav Hasek was one of the earliest writers of what we have come to know as modern literature. He experimented with verbal collage, Dadaism and the surreal. Hasek was writing modern fiction before exalted post-World-War-One writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, to name just a few. A literary analyst has pointed out that Hasek is one of the few writers of all time to combine political with misanthropic satire. In fact, The Good Soldier Svejk, he says, is the only example of this genre in the 20th century.

Preview Chapter One here!

Download this! Adventures Modern Literature Satire Fiction Masterpiece Czech Polish Russian Hungarian Croatian Serbian War World War One WWI Soldier Svejk Schweik Shveik Shveyk Schveyk Working-class Heroes Novel Austrian Empire German Language Military Authority Resistance Avant Garde Cultural Revolutionary Censorship Dadaism Surrealism Modern Times Fiction Literature Hemingway Fitzgerald Faulkner Satire Anti-War Humor Prague Kafka Hasek Political Social Moral Philosophical Problems Ordinary People Dissent Imperial Powers Propaganda Repression Rulers Slavic Central Eastern Europe Bosnia Hercegovina Sarajevo Humans History Despots Culture Masterpiece Good Book Best Book Good Read Y2k Anti-Establishment Antiestablishment Police State Modern Literature Funny Book Oppression Change Politically Incorrect Hemp Zenny.com Zenny Sadlon Zdenek Sadlon Emmet Mike Joyce Jaroslav Hasek

 
By the turn of the century Prague had become a boomtown. Large numbers of people had come to the city from the countryside to participate in the industrial revolution. The rise of a large working class spawned a cultural revolution. The empires of Central Europe ignored these intrinsic changes and became more and more decrepit and anachronistic. As the system decayed, it became absurd and irrelevant to ordinary people. When forced to respond to dissent, the imperial powers did so, more often than not, with hollow propaganda and repression.

"Like Diogenes, Svejk lingers at the margins of an unfriendly society against which he is defending his independent existence."
Peter Steiner, "Tropos Kynikos: Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk "
 
 

Bretschneider, Vodička, Baloun

Read the Introduction to the new, "Chicago version" English edition!

Some writers so capture the soul and spirit of a people that they are identified with them forever after. In England, it was Charles Dickens, in the United States, it was Mark Twain. For the Slavic nations, and to some extent for all Central Europeans, it is the Czech writer, Jaroslav Hasek.

A host of literary critics acknowledge that Jaroslav Hašek was one of the earliest writers of what we have come to know as modern literature.
He experimented with verbal collage, Dadaism and the surreal.

Hašek was writing modern fiction before
exalted post-World-War-One writers like
Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner,
to name just a few.
 
"What Hasek is ridiculing here lies close to the heart of any complex modern institution. It's not difficult to see why it should create such resentment and alarm in a state whose major concern was to foster among its citizens a new sense of their collective Czechoslovak identity and cooperation with the new government.

Hasek’s satire on the bureaucracy is, for the most part, energetic and relatively simple. He pictures almost all of its practitioners, from the emperor, to the clergy, to the lowest of petty officials, as stupid incompetents, drunks, full of their own importance, often explicitly racist in their dealings with particular ethnic groups, and hopelessly venal. Their major concern appears to be to protect and personally benefit from their positions, and to do that they will play by the rules of the game whose larger purpose (if it has one at all) they can only articulate with various versions of the official line. To this enterprise they bring no special talents and no wider vision whatsoever."

Ian Johnston in On Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk

Now that you have heard of, or might have even served in Sarajevo and Bosnia Herzegovina
why not The book's central character is a quintessential, working-class citizen-soldier, often abused by the fates and the forces of the Austrian empire. In both civilian and military life, Svejk lives by his wits. His chief ploy is to appear witless to those in authority. In fact, he is fond of pointing out that he has been certified to be an imbecile by an official military medical commission. Consequently, he reasons, he cannot be held responsible for his sometimes questionable actions because he's a certified nitwit!
the Primer on World War
         Madness Survival: