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Mary Neuburger, Chair BUR 452, 2505 University Avenue, Stop F3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3607

Spring 2010

REE 325 • Plastic People, Velvet President: Czechoslovak Underground After 1948

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
45490 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
UTC 4.112

Course Description

After the 1968 Prague Spring, "real life" in Czechoslovakia moved underground. Literature, music, philosophy, and even politics developed in this “second culture,” which was entirely divorced from official socialist culture. It is around the Czech rock group The Plastic People of the Universe that this culture coalesced. The purpose of this course is twofold. First we will examine the musical, literary, and philosophical products of Czechoslovak underground of the 70s and 80s. Secondly, we will attempt to evaluate the movement as a whole and compare it with alternative cultural movements in the West.

Grading Policy

Requirements and Grading Papers 40% Exams 20% Critiques 20% Participation 15% Attendance 5%


Texts: Bohumil Hrabal, Too Loud a Solitude, Pearls at the Bottom Václav Havel, "The Power of the Powerless," The Garden Party, Audience, the Increased Difficulty of Concentration Ladislav Klíma, The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch: A Grotesque Romanetto Lyrics by the Plastic People of the Universe Assorted underground poetry Music The Plastic People of the Universe The Velvet Underground Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention Jimi Hendrix Films Milan Hlavsa and the Plastic People of the Universe (V?ra Chytilová, 2001) The Gentle Barbarian (Petr Kobliha, 1990) Bloody Novel (Jaroslav Brabec, 1992)


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