Unfinished Manuscripts, Unresolved War: Kafka, Hašek, and Prague in WWI

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
(This program continues for multiple sessions)
October 15 – December 3 (class will not meet November 26)

5:45 – 7:45 pm

Led by Dagmar Herrmann

Kafka, the inscrutable founding spirit of literary modernism, and Hašek, a satiric, cynic, and lapsed revolutionary, were born in the same city in the same year, spent most of their lives in Prague, wrote their world-famous books around the time of World War I, and died a year apart. What kind of an environment produced writers as dissimilar and alike as Hašek and Kafka? History, geography, and demographic changes will be our guides in analyzing and discussing Kafka’s The Trial and Hašek’s great antiwar novel, The Good Soldier Švejk. We shall conclude with a review of war/antiwar literature Švejk has influenced.

Dagmar Herrmann is an award-winning translator, teacher of Hebrew and Judaica, and independent scholar.

Materials List

Required Text(s):

  • Kafka, Franz. The Trial. Translation by Breon Mitchell. ISBN-10: 0805209999
  • Hašek, Jaroslav. The Good Soldier Švejk. Translation by Cecil Parrott. ISBN-10: 0140449914 (excerpts)

Readings for the First Session:

  • In preparation for the seminar, please read Švejk, Part I, Behind the Lines, 1-8, pp.1-61 and The Trial, translator’s preface and pp. 1-19.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program.

Cost and registration information: 

Seven sessions, $220.
Register Online.