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Bohumil Hrabal and the Others

Class at Faculty of Arts |

This text is not available in the current language. Showing version "cs".Syllabus

Week 1

Course overview / Introduction to life and work of Bohumil Hrabal

Assigned reading:

Bohumil Hrabal: Pirouettes on a Postage Stamp  

Week 2

From the inspirations: Jaroslav Hašek

Assigned reading:

Jaroslav Hašek: Behind the Lines & At the Front (from The Good Soldier Švejk)  

Week 3

From the inspirations: Franz Kafka

Assigned reading:

Franz Kafka: Description of a Struggle & Metamorphosis

Recommended reading:

Bohumil Hrabal: Mr. Kafka and Other Tales  

Week 4

From the inspirations: Ladislav Klíma

Assigned reading:

Ladislav Klíma: The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch: A Grotesque Romanetto  

Week 5

Hrabal’s Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age

Assigned reading:

Bohumil Hrabal: Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age  

Week 6

Hrabal’s Closely Watched Trains

Assigned reading:

Bohumil Hrabal: Closely Watched Trains  

Week 7

Hrabal’s I Served the King of England

Assigned reading:

Bohumil Hrabal: I Served the King of England  

Week 8

From Hrabal’s short stories

Assigned reading:

Bohumil Hrabal: Rambling On: An Apprentice's Guide to the Gift of the Gab  

Week 9

Hrabal’s Too Loud a Solitude

Assigned reading:

Bohumil Hrabal: Too Loud a Solitude  

Week 10

Hrabal’s so-called autobiographical trilogy

Assigned reading:

Bohumil Hrabal: In-House Weddings

Recommended readings:

Bohumil Hrabal: Vita Nuova: A Novel

Bohumil Hrabal: Gaps: A Novel  

Week 11

From the tributes: Péter Esterházy

Assigned reading:

Péter Esterházy: The Book of Hrabal  

Week 12

From the tributes: Paweł Huelle / Course conclusion

Assigned reading:

Paweł Huelle: Mercedes-Benz: from Letters to Hrabal  

This text is not available in the current language. Showing version "cs".Annotation

This course focuses on the works written by Bohumil Hrabal (1914–1997), who is estimated to be one of the greatest Czech authors, whose writings still inspire scholars and critics worldwide.

Intertextuality lies at the heart of Hrabal’s aesthetics. As he often stated himself when he talked about literature and his own reading experiences and preferences, one of the crucial constituents of his poetics is constant literary communication with other prosaists, poets, essayist, philosophers etc. Hrabal’s everchanging ability to combine various stories, references, excerpts or motifs, both from canonical “high” culture and from everyday life, with complex textual structures, integrating contrasts rather them eliminating them, makes his writing a distinctive example of the modern literary experiment.

Hrabal’s texts represent a universe of allusions, quotes, word plays, explicit or implicit literary dialogues, which open us to the historical context, but more crucially, to the complex intertextual network of literary influences, cultural exchange and communication in and beyond the Central European region. This creative process was also not somehow completed by Bohumil Hrabal: his writings also became a part of this network themselves, when several other authors paid their tributes to him, became inspired by his narrative style or even copied it.

We will examine selected works by Bohumil Hrabal and the other authors (see selected authors below in the weekly schedule), in an attempt to “decode” and describe some of those intertextual relationships and draw conclusions based on our analysis.