This Tuesday, fans of Czech prose in the Prague Museum of Literature had an exceptional opportunity to view the exhibited manuscript of Jaroslav Hašek’s famous novel The Fate of the Good Soldier Švejk during the World War. The museum was put into operation last fall in Prague’s Bubenč by the National Literature Memorial. According to spokesman Ivan Adamovič, Tuesday’s event attracted the most visitors since the opening.
Among other things, she arrived at the one-day exhibition Hashkova great-granddaughter of Petra Pelus Hašková. The manuscript of the novel could only be shown for one day due to fears of possible damage. It was supplemented by selected rare editions of the novel, including the first notebook edition, which many connoisseurs saw for the first time on Tuesday, adds museum spokesperson Adamovič.
From Hašek’s multi-page manuscript, experts selected the first and last page and then various pages from the entire text. Some with many cuts, others written cleanly so that the reader can see how the final text was created under the writer’s hands. The exhibition of book editions in the museum will last until Sunday, April 9. On Tuesday, the public could also watch Hašek’s long-unknown short story Pork history, her manuscript will now be replaced by a facsimile, i.e. an imitation. The museum bought the original through an antiquarian in 2021 for 60,000 crowns.
Since the release of the last volume of Hašek’s opus this year has passed 100 years, as well as since the writer’s death. At the same time, Czech literature is now commemorating the 140th anniversary of the author’s birth.
Hašek is the most translated Czech author. Recently, new Vietnamese, French or German translations of Švejk have been created. In local bookstores, many editions are sold out, but since the novel is published almost every two or three years, it can still be found in printed and electronic form. Švejk with the well-known illustrations of Josef Lady is also widely available in second-hand bookshops, with prices starting from a few tens of crowns to several thousand crowns for rare editions. The Municipal Library in Prague provides the text for free Download.