Josef Lada

The Good Soldier Svejk
  • The Good Soldier Svejk

  • The inspiration for such works as Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Jaroslav Hašek's black satire The Good Soldier Švejk is translated with an introduction by Cecil Parrott in Penguin Classics.

    Good-natured and garrulous, Švejk becomes the Austro-Hungarian 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. Playing cards, getting drunk and becoming a general nuisance, the resourceful Švejk uses all his natural cunning and genial subterfuge to deal with the doctors, police, clergy and officers who chivvy him towards battle. The story of a 'little man' caught in a vast bureaucratic machine, The Good Soldier Švejk combines dazzling wordplay and piercing satire to create a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war.

    Cecil Parrott's vibrant, unabridged and unbowdlerized translation is accompanied by an introduction discussing Hašek's turbulent life as an anarchist, communist and vagranty, and the Everyman character of Švejk. This edition also includes a guide to Czech names, maps and original illustrations by Josef Ladas.

    Jaroslav Hašek (1883-1923) Besides this book, the writer wrote more than 2,000 short works, short stories, glosses, sketches, mostly under various pen-names.

    If you enjoyed The Good Soldier Švejk, you might like Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, also available in Penguin Classics.

    'Brilliant ... perhaps the funniest novel ever written'
    George Monbiot

    'Hašek was a comic genius'
    Sunday Times

    'Hašek was a humorist of the highest calibre....A later age will perhaps put him on a level with Cervantes and Rabelais'
    Max Brod

Jaroslav Hašek (Author) 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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