a weblog for readers and writers

Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Monday, June 11, 2007

Check Out Czech Lit

Tomorrow I'm off to Prague, so I’ve been checking out a bit of Czech literature and cinema. The history, literature, and culture of the Czech Republic — and Prague specifically — is fascinating.

Serious Czech literature dates back to the early 14th century, around the time of Jan Hus and the Hussite Wars.

An influential Czech writer from the 14th century was Jan Amos Komensky, sometimes known as Comenius. He believed in improving society through education and was often referred to as “the teacher of nations.”

Another bit of trivia: a Czech writer came up with the word “robot.” Playwright Karel Capek coined the term in his play Rossum’s Universal Robots. Robot is derived from the Czech word robata which means labor.

Popular poet Jaroslav Seiferet won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1984.

Two contemporary greats I’m currently reading are Milan Kundera and Bohumil Hrabal.

Kundera is author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and Slowness. Rumor has it he’s been short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Literature himself.

Before Bohumil Hrabal died in 1997, Kundera referred to him as the best Czech author writing today. Hrabal is known for such works as I Served the King of England, Closely Watched Trains, and Too Loud a Solitude.

Closely Watched Trains was also an academy-award winning film. Other good Czech movies I've seen recently include Autumn Spring, Divided We Fall, Up and Down, The White Dove, and Loves of a Blonde.

Looking to check out some Czech lit? I recommend I Served the King of England and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I’ll be taking both on the plane with me.


Blogger Paul said...

Hi, Eric -- Looking forward to hearing about your travels in the Czech Republic. Congratulations on your election to the MWA board! It's going to be a very excellent year.

June 15, 2007  

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