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Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the…

Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War (Penguin Modern… (original 1922; edition 2000)

by Jaroslav Hasek

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2,380342,629 (3.97)173
Title:Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War (Penguin Modern Classics)
Authors:Jaroslav Hasek
Info:Penguin Books (2000), Paperback, 784 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle
Tags:Fiction, Czech, 20th Century

Work details

The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hašek (1922)

Recently added bygc249, private library, Sareene, joshanastasia, ExChem, tresoldi, libriSteffen, mirigall, solio
Legacy LibrariesGraham Greene, Ernest Hemingway
  1. 50
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (roby72)
  2. 00
    Schlump by Hans Herbert Grimm (sneuper)
    sneuper: A novel about with many layers: humoristic and satiric at the surface, but realistic and a bitter complaint against war underneath.
  3. 00
    Dead Souls by Nikolaj Gogol (CGlanovsky)
  4. 00
    Goma de borrar (Spanish Edition) by Josep Montalat (Anonymous user)
  5. 11
    The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin by Vladimir Vojnovitsj (pgmcc)
    pgmcc: Chonkin is very similar to Svejk. The humour and satire are very similar; as is the exposition of bureaucratic nonsense.

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» See also 173 mentions

English (26)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Estonian (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
The people of central Europe spent most of the Twentieth Century living under various stifling and unwieldy bureaucracies: first the Hapsburg empire, then the Nazi interregnum, and then Soviet domination. The relations of the individual with these apparatus’ have inspired some of the region’s greatest art of the period, from the stories of [a:Franz Kafka|8434637|Kafka Franz|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png] to movies like Miloš Forman’s Closely Observed Trains. The Good Soldier Švejk is firmly in that tradition. Less a World War One novel than a satire on bureaucracy, the book's 750 pages see no actual combat, detailing instead it's protagonist's struggles with the incompetent Hapsburg military machine.

For students of the period or the region there is plenty of interest here. Much light is shed on the relationships between the various ethnic groups under Hapsburg rule and the operation of the Hapsburg army - Hašek himself was both Czech and a veteran. But other readers might find it a terrible slog. The central character, Švejk, is one of the least interesting in the book. Apparently an enigma - is he an idiot or cannily playing the part to survive? - he is certainly a bore. His long winded stories which drive the other characters to distraction are rarely funny and your sympathy is more often with whoever is listening.

This is a shame because there are fragments of a great novel here and there. The most interesting characters are Lieutenant Lukáš, Captain Ságner, Marek, who is writing the history of the batallion in advance, and Cadet Biegler. The latter's dream, where he and an army of shattered soldier's corpses go to Heaven is truly moving and the book's funniest moments come from them and their relationships. ( )
  JohnPhelan | Oct 4, 2016 |
This WW1 classic Czech novel reminded me of Catch-22 or M.A.S.H. -- black humor about the way armies work. I much prefered this older translation to that of Sadlon's new one I started off with in Book 1 and also enjoyed Lada's illustrations this book had. ( )
  leslie.98 | Sep 4, 2016 |
The absurdities of the military during wartime. A thoroughly satisfying read. The book that inspired Joseph Heller's Catch-22
Library Book ( )
  seeword | Aug 7, 2016 |
"I still can't make out whether you only act the fool or whether you were born a fool", 26 Jun. 2016

This review is from: The Good Soldier Schweik (Kindle Edition)
The good soldier Schweik is a totally unforgettable character. Imprisoned, sent to a lunatic asylum then ejected, he returns to his occupation of selling 'pedigree' dogs, before volunteering to fight in World War I. Since his rheumatism is playing him up he has his landlady wheel him there in a bath-chair - resulting in a eulogy 'Patriotism of a Cripple' in the newspaper, but a spell in the military infirmary as a malingerer.
And here begins his army career - working for a drunken chaplain and later as batman to the generally likeable Lieutenant Lukash, for whom he causes no end of troubles, not least by remarking in the presence of a bald-headed gentleman who later turns out to be a fearsome major-general that "There was a doctor who said that loss of hair was due to mental disturbance during confinements."
And through it all Schweik maintains his guileless expression and bland smile, his show of obedience - but the sense that he is poking fun at his superiors with his endless, usually irrelevant, anecdotes.
What started off as an entertaining read definitely started to wear thin for me as it went on. Especially when the troops reached the Galician front and scenes of death and destruction, Schweik's attitude stopped being amusing or credible. Would have benefitted from not being quite so long. ( )
  starbox | Jun 26, 2016 |
I first heard of this book in a lecture series on the history of Eastern Europe. The professor mentioned that it was a source of inspiration for Joseph Heller's Catch 22. From the excerpts of The Good Soldier that I read I would say that the humor is mined from the same vein. The long intro gives quite a bit of detail about Jaroslav Hašek's biography. His anarchism, in full bloom in the novel, also got him into trouble in real life with the authorities. Sad to say, I suspect similar antics would get him into hotter water in today's post 9/11 world.

The plot follows Švejk through his wandering path along the Eastern Front of WWI. There were movies made and Švejk seems to live in the heart of Czechoslovakians in a way similar to say, Charlie Chaplin figures in the early days of American filmdom. It is worth reading to get a feel for that time and place. It is a commitment, though, coming in at just under 800 pages. ( )
  danhammang | Feb 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (84 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jaroslav Hašekprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fiedler, Leslie A.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lada, JosefIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lada, JosefIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lada, JosefIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meriggi, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parrot, CecilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parrott, CecilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pieters, RoelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poggioli, RenatoContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Selver, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zgustová, MonikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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'And so they've killed our Ferdinand', said the charwoman to Mr Svejk, who had left military service years before, after having been finally certified by an army medical board as an imbecile, and now lived by selling dogs - ugly, mongrel monstrosities whose pedigrees he forged.
"Nii nad tapsidki meie Ferdinandi," ütles virtin härra Švejkile, kes oli aastate eest vabanenud sõjaväeteenistusest, kui kroonuarstide komisjon ta lõplikult lolliks tunnistas, ja elatas ennast nüüd sellega, et müütas mingeid jõledaid segaverelisi koerapeletisi, võltsides nende sugupuud.
„Tak nám zabili Ferdinanda,“ řekla posluhovačka panu Švejkovi, který opustiv před léty vojenskou službu, když byl definitivně prohlášen vojenskou lékařskou komisí za blba, živil se prodejem psů, ošklivých nečistokrevných oblud, kterým padělal rodokmeny.
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The Good Soldier Svejk (Schweik, Schwejk, Svejkin...) was written as 4 volumes. Modern editions are often a selection from all all of them, but let's try to keep those published as the original volumes separate.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140449914, Paperback)

In The Good Soldier Svejk, celebrated Czech writer and anarchist Jaroslav Hasek combined dazzling wordplay and piercing satire in a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war.

Good-natured and garrulous, Svejk becomes the Austrian army’s most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of World War I—although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. Playing cards and getting drunk, he uses all his cunning and genial subterfuge to deal with the police, clergy, and officers who chivy him toward battle. Cecil Parrott’s vibrant translation conveys the brilliant irreverence of this classic about a hapless Everyman caught in a vast bureaucratic machine.

Introduction discusses Hasek's turbulent life as an anarchist, communist, and vagrant
Includes a pronunciation guide to Czech names, three maps, and the original illustrations by Josef Lada
The unabridged and unbowdlerized translation

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:35 -0400)

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