- Mass Market Paperback: 784 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (14 May 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140182748
- ISBN-13: 978-0140182743
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War (Twentieth Century Classics) Mass Market Paperback – 14 May 1990
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Jaroslav HaA ek (1883-1923) Besides this book, the writer wrote more than 2,000 short works, short stories, glosses, sketches, mostly under various pen-names. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
On the face of it, this simpleton dog seller from Prague has nothing going for him. Even the dogs he sells are mongrels, made up to look like pedigrees (with fake certification, naturally).
As the story progresses, you find he is not only intelligent, but uses dumb ignorance to get his way. From almost starting a riot in Wenceslas Square, to being lost by his officer in a card game, to being captured by his own troops, the scrapes Hasek creates for his hero will make you laugh out loud.
Don't be scared if you think the setting is outdated, the footnotes are excellent in explaining the context. I guarantee you will recognise many of the characters in people you have met.
One word of warning though. Hasek died while writing this masterpiece. Literally in mid paragraph. Its frustrating, but makes you wonder, what if....
This book is well worth a go, you may give up on it as some people I know have but if your a fan of stories depicting the small man doing his best to resist against the big machine then you'll enjoy Svejk.
Much of the book is autobiographical, and a must-read companion to it is Hasek's autobiography. The background is World War I, which started with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of the Austrian Emperor, Franz Joseph, at Sarajevo in Bosnia by a Serbian nationalist in 1914. Hasek's saga starts with this very incident, in the discussion of which at a bar Svejk makes statements like, "A shocking loss. You can't replace Ferdinand by any twopenny-halfpenny idiot. Only he ought to have been still fatter... Then of course he'd have had a stroke long ago, when he was chasing those old women at Konopiste when they were collecting firewood and picking mushrooms on his estate, and he wouldn't have had to die such a shameful death." For several other statements like these Svejk was hauled straight from the bar to a prison. The bar-tender was also taken in as he had said, "the flies shitted on His Imperial Majesty" (his photograph, really). Of such irreverence for authority is the book made up.
But Svejk doesn't remain long in prison, as he is found to be "a patent imbecile and idiot according to all the natural laws invented by the luminaries of psychiatry." So he is sent to a lunatic asylum where he declares to his interlocutors, "I was officially certified my military doctors as a patent idiot," and is promptly thrown out.
Svejk, who was carrying on an innocent business of painting up stray dogs and selling them off as pedigreed specimen, soon found himself drafted into the army.Read more ›
Just like Rabelais, Hasek successfully subverts any form of authority. Alhtough Hasek became a communist towards the end of his life, he remained at heart an out-and-out anarchist. Much of his venom is directed at the corrupt and decaying state of Austria-Hungary, but the most choice specimens of it are those reserved for the Church and for religion of all kinds.
Svejk himself is very like Hamlet in one important way: just as it is almost impossible to give a definite answer to whether Hamlet is mad or not, so it is impossible to give a definite answer to the main question surrounding Svejk: is he a patent imbecile or not? In another sense he is much bigger than Hamlet, since he takes over directly the structure of the work, and twists, chops and defines it accordingly. He always tells grotesque stories, supposedly to illustrate a moral of some kind, but these always seem to drift and swerve wildly away, and end up proving nothing at all or something totally different to his avowed aim. They impede the flow of the narrative so much, that by the end there is almost no narrative, just a morrass of subversions, each more hilarious than the one that preceded it.
It definitely is a prime contender for book of the past century.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you loved "Catch 22" you will love "The Good Soldier Svejk". A genius piece of writing.Published 12 months ago by Paul Elgey
I have been reading and re-reading Svejk for more than thirty years. My original copy finally fell apart so I needed a new one so went for this hardback copy which is excellent... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Richard from Manchester
Go for it. It should be compulsory reading, particularly for anyone interested in WW1Published on 4 Nov. 2014 by Matilda
I read the expurgated version in paperback as a child 70 odd years ago and it influenced my life permanently. Read morePublished on 10 Feb. 2014 by TonyM
Read this book years ago, and looked for it on Kindle. Faced with purchasing all 4 books at €30-40, I bought this online for 99p + P&P. Read morePublished on 21 Mar. 2013 by M. Molloy
I've been re-reading this - in English - once a year since 1981.
It's not remotely "clever". Read more
One of the funniest books I have ever read. Ends rather abruptly, as the author died before finishing it, but this is a book to be kept and enjoyed many times over. Read morePublished on 25 July 2010 by Elgar
This is an excellent translation of this classic story. The hardback Everyman's Library edition is beautifully produced. It is unabridged. Read morePublished on 8 Nov. 2009 by C. A. O'Toole