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

Spring 2009


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
44705 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
PAR 101

Course Description

"As we know, the absurd and comic dimensions of the world are always best seen from below."  Václav Havel Every culture has its own way of telling stories, its own models (in the visual, literary, and musical arts) for registering experience. The stories that fit become a permanent part of a nation's identity. This course is designed to give students some idea of the narratives that have become a part of the Czech experience. We begin with a brief outline of Czech literary history and the development of nineteenth-century Czech prose against the background of world literature. Our focus, however, will be on Czech twentieth-century master works by Milan Kundera, Jaroslav Haaek, Karel apek, Bohumil Hrabal, Josef `kvorecký, among others. We will read works from all three literary currents - official literature, unofficial or underground literature, and literature published abroad  and discusses them within their literary and political contexts.

Grading Policy

Seminar format. Active attendance expected (attendance will be taken). From 50-230 pages of reading per week. Two 5-page papers, with one rewrite. 2 Short In-Class Exams The Weekly Critique: Each participant will email to me [] a brief paragraph on some aspect of that week's reading, due by midnight before either of the two meetings, that is, Monday or Wednesday evening. I will respond to them and incorporate them into class discussion.


Jaroslav Haaek, The Adventures of the Good Soldier `vejk Karel apek, War with the Newts Bohumil Hrabal, I Served the King of England, Too Loud a Solitude Josef `kvorecký, The Cowards Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves Vladimir Páral, Catapult Michal Viewegh, Bringing Up Girls In Bohemia


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