Books

The Good Soldier Švejk

Jaroslav Hasek (and others)

'Listen, Švejk, are you really God's prize oaf?'
'Humbly report, sir,' Švejk answered solemnly. 'I am!'

Drunkard, malingerer, oaf and possible genius - the story of Czech soldier Svejk and his misadventures in the First World War is one of the most hilarious and subversive satires on war ever written.

A new series of twenty distinctive, unforgettable Penguin Classics in a beautiful new design and pocket-sized format, with coloured jackets echoing Penguin's original covers.

The Good Soldier Svejk

Jaroslav Hasek (and others)

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

Biography

Cecil Parrott