Jaroslav Hašek

The Good Soldier Svejk
  • The Good Soldier Svejk

  • A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation by Christopher Reason of the satirical Czech novel by Jaroslav Hasek. This tale charts the exploits during the First World War of 'European Forrest Gump', Svejk, in his progress through the ranks of the Austro-Hungarian army. Good-natured and garrulous, Svejk becomes the Austrian army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of the First World War - although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. This story of a 'little man' caught in a vast bureaucratic machine combines dazzling wordplay and piercing satire to create a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war. Starring Sam Kelly as Svejk and Adrian Lukis as Lukas. Directed by Gary Brown.

Jaroslav Hašek (1883-1923) wrote more than 2,000 short works, short stories, glosses, sketches, mostly under various pen-names. A prankster and stalwart of innumerable taverns scattered across Bohemia, Hašek was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army during the First World War and spent much of the war in a Russian prisoner-of-war camp. After the war Hašek launched into writing his devastating and hilarious satire The Good Soldier Švejk, which was tragically left unfinished at his premature death and yet was, by various measures, probably unfinishable.

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