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Czech Literature in English

Class at Faculty of Arts |




Contrary to the common conception of Czech literature as a canon comprising of writing in the Czech language, written by Czechs and about the shared world of this nation, whether in social or territorial terms, our course will look at texts defying these traditional conceptions.

We aim to analyse a range of works in English by authors from the Czech lands or in other ways connected to the country to see whether we can understand Czech literature as extending beyond the self-imposed constriction of language and nationality. Furthermore, we will focus on the specific strategies these texts employ regarding the representation of “Czechness” and what these strategies have to say about the intercultural exchange between the anglophone world and the Czech lands.

Following a chronological trajectory that will guide us through the 20th century until recent days, we will uncover stylistic, linguistic, and political implications of Czech Anglophone Literature. The course will explore various theoretical approaches to transnational negotiations, hybridity, and migrant and minority literatures.

Our primary focuses will include: the influence of translations from English on Czech literature, macaronic texts in Czech and English, Anglophone works written by Czechs and works about the Czech Republic written by Anglophone authors. Among the authors we will read together are Jan Zábrana, Edith Templeton, Milada Součková, Zdena Tominova, Jana Prikryl, Bruce Chatwin, Philip Roth, Allen Ginsberg and Janet Malcolm.

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