Read Schweik: The Good Soldier by Jaroslav Hašek Paul Selver Joseph Lada Online


In The Good Soldier Švejk, celebrated Czech writer and anarchist Jaroslav Hašek combined dazzling wordplay and piercing satire in a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war.Good-natured and garrulous, Švejk becomes the Austrian army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of World War I -- although his bumbling attempts to get to theIn The Good Soldier Švejk, celebrated Czech writer and anarchist Jaroslav Hašek combined dazzling wordplay and piercing satire in a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war.Good-natured and garrulous, Švejk becomes the Austrian army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of World War I -- although his bumbling attempts to get to the front serve only to prevent him from reaching it. Playing cards and getting drunk, he uses all his cunning and genial subterfuge to deal with the police, clergy, and officers who chivy him toward battle.Cecil Parrott's vibrant translation conveys the brilliant irreverence of this classic about a hapless Everyman caught in a vast bureaucratic machine....

Title : Schweik: The Good Soldier
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 11081410
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 448 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Schweik: The Good Soldier Reviews

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-06-21 10:15

    The Czech antidote to Heller’s Catch-22 (a wonderful but overpraised anti-war satire), this anarchistic (and openly misogynistic) classic is bolder, bawdier, barmier and another B-bouncing word than Heller’s similar book thing. The premise here is that the balding and plump Švejk (or so he appears in the smile-raising illustrations) pretends to be an idiot to “dodge the draft,” but his motivations are deeper and his brain power plumper—he remembers his officer’s orders verbatim and is able to parrot their barked orders back at them, riling his superiors simply by showing up their lamebrained hypocrisy at every opportunity. The remarkable thing about this not-always-hilarious, but relentlessly entertaining book is that Hašek was an educated hobo who spent his time bumming the railroads, pulling this masterpiece out his pants while living a true on-the-edge anarchist life. The novel is punk slapstick. The comedy here spins out into shows like Bilko, Dad’s Army, MASH (asterisks omitted) and so on—with nice and nasty satirical strafings and knifings for fans of that kind of thing. Essential for all ages 3 and up.

  • Evgeny
    2019-07-02 06:03

    Review updated on 4/1/2016.A simple Czech person Svejk became a soldier in Austro-Hungarian Army in the beginning of World War I. His way to become one was anything but straight: despite his wholehearted attempts to enlist the moment he heard about the war, he kept stumbling from one absurd situation into another ending up literally everywhere except for the Army. When he finally gets there, even more ridiculous situations keep happening to him thanks to the military life which defies common sense most of the time.This is a satirical book which manages to be a humor book as well. The humor part is really great: the book was written almost one hundred years ago, and it is still funny; I laughed really hard while reading the book, and I think the scene where Svejk brings drunk chaplain home has got to be one of the funniest one in the literature.Now comes the satirical part: at the first glance it looks like Svejk is a complete idiot. Actually I take it back: it would be an insult to the people with this mental deficiency to call him that; Svejk is way past this point. Once you stop and think about what happens in the book, it turns out he actually always prevails over the huge and baroque bureaucratic machine of the military and civil live of pre-war Central Europe. His behavior can be considered a mockery of this machine: Svejk is a little guy caught in there, but he wins all the time: no matter how idiotic and bizarre his actions are, even bigger idiocy of bureaucracy makes him a winner.I read this book after my military service, it added to the fun in reading when I realized not much has changed in the military since World War I; the bureaucratic organization of the military is still there and most of the reasons we start modern wars are still the same.I also strongly suggest reading about the author of this book Jaroslav Hašek. His life was anything but common. Sadly he died before finishing the book, but the story has a feeling of being finished nonetheless. It would probably not be an exaggeration to call this novel to be the best satire on the World War I.

  • Tony
    2019-06-26 06:19

    Humbly report, Sir, but I've been reading this book calledThe Good Soldier Švejk which I had not planned to read as part of my World War I project, but there you have it. It's a satire of the stupidity of war, of governments and armies and regulations, of class struggles. Of being a Czech, and nevertheless in the Austrian army. To deal with the absurdity of it all, you need an anti-hero. Which would be this guy:Švejk. One buffoonerous episode...follows another...and another...Yes, the drawings are in the book and add to the anarchy fun.People say this book has its roots inDon Quixote, but there's Shandian digressions, too, and, as a character, Švejk has plenty of Bartleby in him. But he's funnier, more complex, and wiser, much wiser, despite his protestations of idiocy. It's obviously credited as spawningCatch-22, and yes, it's an anti-war novel. But when a few almost-enlightened characters did a double-take, a facial tic of wonder if the imbecile might just be putting them on, I thought of Chauncey Gardiner too.'Listen, Švejk, are you really God's prize oaf?''Humbly report, Sir,' Švejk answered solemnly, 'I am. Ever since I was little I have had bad luck like that.'I was thinking of all these things, as I was almost done with the book, and the et ux and I decided to take a five-mile walk around a nearby lake. The path follows a roadway, one mile of which was under repair, a widening project, what they call it, which had been in progress for six months and was days from completion. We walked as far as the section under repair. Years of parochial education have resulted in my following even the most pedantic of rules (and a good handful of the Ten Commandments, by the way), so I stopped us at the three big ROAD CLOSED signs. However, there is something about a freshly paved roadway, with brightly painted yellow and white lines. There was just some guardrail work being done. We asked some of the worker bees whether we could continue on and they couldn't think why not, and we couldn't think why not either, this being America and all. Can I have a little Woody Guthrie please!As I went walking I saw a sign there And on the sign it said "No Trespassing." But on the other side it didn't say nothing, That side was made for you and me.Thank you. And it was indeed a beautiful ribbon of highway. I tipped my cap to the workers, who tipped their caps back at me. All was well.At about the halfway point through the 'construction area', a white pick-up truck with a flashing yellow light on top came speeding up from behind us, screeching to a stop at our side. What he said was, 'This is a NO TRESPASSING area!' but I think what he meant was Sir, you have rubbed the bloom off my virginity.To which the et ux offered, 'My husband said it was okay.'The officious man in the white pick-up truck now knew which guilty party to glare at. So, I offered, 'This reminds me of the time the et ux and I were driving back from Illinois and where the highway goes in a big circle around Indianapolis the speed limit went from 75 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour, with not enough warning, if you know what I mean. So I got pulled over. The local gendarme walked up to the car, identifying himself and explaining why he was compelled to stop me, only to be interrupted by the et ux, who leaned over to say, 'I told him to slow down!' My hands on the wheel, I waited for her to continue with 'but he never listens when he's drinking' but the hand of God must have stopped her.''You're a smart-aleck,' said the white pick-up truck.'Humbly report, that view has its supporters, but then there's those that vote for feeble-minded. But anyway, baszom az anyát, baszom az istenet, baszom a Kristus Máriát, baszom az astyádot, baszom a világot.''What's your name?''Švejk.''Shvayk?''No, Švejk. Just like it's spelled.''You're not Shvayk.' (this from the et ux.)'Well, you can't walk here.'I decide to be quiet and let him figure this out. The sign on his door says FOLINO CONSTRUCTION and not MCCANDLESS TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT. We are one-half mile from where we came and one-half mile from where we are going. We do not have a helicopter. The most ardent profiler could not perceive the two old people that we are as terrorists, nor is this new roadway likely on any Top 100 Infrastructure Thingies We'd Like to Blow Up List in Jihad Monthly. So, here we were, waiting for the man Mr. Folino thought enough of to let him have a spinning yellow light on top of his truck to figure this out. As Švejk would say, he had a well-developed talent for observation when it's already too late and some unpleasantness has happened.We were let off with a warning.We walked through the construction zone, and about a mile more in silence. Then the et ux said, 'You're writing a review, aren't you Mr. Shvayk?''Why yes I am. And it's Švejk.''That book with the cartoon on the cover?''Somewhat famous drawings by Josef Lada, but yes.''What's it about?''It's a satire, with a seeming bumbling idiot for a protagonist who goes on one misadventure after another, but with the clear purpose, if you read it correctly, of not getting anywhere near the front lines during World War I and getting himself killed.''A satire?''Yes. A satire. Which is tricky because the people who are spoofed in a satire are pretty much guaranteed not to see the humor in it. It reminds me of the guy who would be making dinner and his wife would walk behind him making sure he closed all the drawers he opened so that crumbs wouldn't fall in. Or would stand there when he returned from taking the garbage out or walk out of the bathroom and just stare at his hands until he got the point that he should wash his hands. Or freeze in her tracks when she heard ice cubes drop into a glass fearing the end of the world or that maybe vodka would follow......''That's not funny.'----- ----- ----- -----Švejk was explaining: You see, it's not so hard to get in somewhere. Anyone can do that, but getting out again needs real military skill. When a chap gets in somewhere, he has to know about everything that's going on around him, so as not to find himself in a jam suddenly - what's called a catastrophe.----- ----- ----- -----Humbly report, Sir.

  • Jan-Maat
    2019-06-21 04:25

    Probably the funniest book ever written about the first world war.This isn't really a novel, more of a series of anecdotes linked together by a few characters and whose narrative drive grows weaker as the work progresses. It was written in instalments and I have never heard tell that there was an overall plan for the book.Much of what happens and even bizarre stories like the editor who invented new animals to write about for a regular animal magazine are drawn from Hašek's own experiences.It was written after the war and after the author's experience as a Bolshevik Commissar and so is looking back on the vanished world of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Probably more by the accident of the author's early, alcohol related death than by design, an ongoing joke is that the Czech soldiers spend their free time fighting Hungarian soldiers, teasing Polish troops and getting round bumbling German officers all of whom are, technically at least, mutually united in the service of His Imperial Majesty Franz-Josef II. Naturally since the story was written after the Empire had been broken up in to a number of countries, two of which in turn no longer exist, and for the explicit purpose of amusing the Czech reading public in order to earn money to spend on drink, national stereotypes as well as devotion and loyalty to the old empire are played for laughs.The earliest section featuring Svejk developing arthritis to avoid being called up as a reservist, photographed in his wheelchair cheering on the troops leaving for the front, a spell in a lunatic asylum, getting drafted and gambled away by a drunken field chaplain, then loosing himself on his way to join his regiment but succeeding in not being tried for desertion is possibly the funniest. Although I have a grim appreciation of the cadet officer sent to a cholera hospital after having brought diarrhoea upon himself by scoffing all the chocolates he had been sent from home. The cholera hospital being understood as a nobler alternative than the embarrassing truth which pretty much sums up the tone of the work - a delight in the self-defeating idiocy of the entire endeavour.There are at least two serious reasons for the English speaker to read this. Firstly it is part of the war that wasn't the Western front. The Western front so looms up in our historical imagination that the millions who also died and survived on the Eastern Front, on the Italian Front, fighting in the Ottoman Empire, in Africa and a few other places are easily forgotten and often overlooked. Secondly it is a comic, not a tragic view of the war. This is the other side of the war - there were some people who felt like winners. Citizens of new states that emerged out of the rubble of old empires, dusting off their shoulders and feeling relatively upbeat (at least for a few years) about their place in a new Europe.

  • Carlos
    2019-07-18 09:02

    Una sátira de esas que no se olvidan. Hašek ilustra muy bien a Švejk, cómo se hace soldado, cómo "lucha" por el imperio austro-húngaro y todas las anécdotas que le suceden a éste. Cuando estaba en Praga, vi un restaurante llamado Švejk y me recordó inmediatamente al libro. Situaciones absurdas, por una guerra absurda (como todas las guerras) con anécdotas absurdas, pero que siempre condujeron a un mismo lugar: la armada.Lo que creo que más gracia me causó fue que entre más soldado se sentía, más absurdo era todo... buen menaje subliminal.¿Recomendable? ¡Absolutamente! Leer sobre tópicos serios y tristes en manera de sátira es simplemente genial.Švejk siempre vivirá en mi corazón.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-06-29 07:55

    692. Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války = The Good Soldier Švejk, Jaroslav HašekThe Good Soldier Švejk (also spelled Schweik, Shveyk or Schwejk) is the abbreviated title of an unfinished satirical dark comedy novel by Jaroslav Hašek. The original Czech title of the work is Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války, literally The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War.تاریخ نخستین خوانش: یازدهم ماه آوریل سال 2008 میلادیعنوان: شوایک سرباز پاکدل؛ نویسنده: یاروسلاو هاشک؛ مترجم: ایرج پزشک‌زاد؛ تهران، کتاب زمان؛ چاپ دوم تابستان 1383؛زمان را کمی به عقب برمی‌گردانیم؛ سرباز«شوایک» دارد از دست‌شویی بیرون می‌آید. حالا کمرش را سفت می‌کند و وارد جنگ اول جهانی می‌شود! شوایک درست هنگامی که درد روماتیسمش عود کرده و مشغول مالیدن پماد به پای پر موی خویش است تصمیمش را می‌گیرد، که خود را برای جنگ آماده کند، و تا جان در بدن دارد با دشمن ملتش، ملت اتریش که بالای سر مردمان چک است بجنگد. ولی نبرد او، نبرد نیزه با نیزه نیست. نبرد صداقت با خشونت است. خشونتی که ادعای دانایی دارد و کارهای بزرگ را در شأن خود می‌داند و آن کارهای بزرگ عبارتند از: دستور دادن، پول شمردن، نظم و ترتیب داشتن و مصدر داشتن. شوایک ما را به جنگ جهانی می‌برد، و زمانیکه کلاه رنگارنگش را به سر گذاشته، و آن لباس پاره‌ اش را به تن کرده، پرده‌ های جنگ را به افتخار ما بیننده‌ های خوشحال و آسوده، کنار می‌زند. و می‌گوید: با عرض بندگی به استحضارتان می‌رسانم که این خاطرات من است در زمان جنگ، زمانی ‌که رشادت‌ها و جان‌ فدائی­های بسیار کردم. و بی‌ وقفه خانة اربابم «سرکار ستوان لوکاش» را آب و جاروب می‌کردم، و به خانم‌های ملاقات‌ کننده، درس آداب و رفتار پس می‌دادم. آه... در آن روزهای پیروزی... . اگر رمان شوایک سرباز پاک‌دل را بخوانید، خودتان متوجه می‌شوید که با چه اعجوبه‌ ای سر و کار دارید! این را هم بگویم که آرزوی نویسنده این بوده، که کلمة شوایک به معنی شخصی با خصوصیاتی خاص وارد فرهنگ لغت مردم «چک» شود. «من شوایک هستم» یک دوران بزرگ نیازمند مردان بزرگ است. قهرمانان ناشناخته بی‌ سر و صدائی وجود دارند، که افتخارات ناپلئون را کسب نکرده‌ اند، و مثل او وارد تاریخ نشده‌ اند. معهذا خصوصیات روحی آنها به حدی غنی و پرمایه است، که حتی اسکندر کبیر را تحت‌ الشعاع قرار می‌دهند. امروز در خیابان‌های پراگ به مردی با سر و وضع نامرتب بر‌می‌خورید، که خود نمی‌داند چه نقش مهمی در تاریخ این دوران بزرگ جدید ایفا کرده است. آرام به راه خود می‌رود، بدون اینکه مزاحم کسی بشود، و یا اینکه روزنامه‌ نگاران برای مصاحبه مزاحمش بشوند. اگر اسمش را بپرسید کاملا راحت و بدون تصنع جواب می‌دهد: «من شوایک هستم...» و این مرد کم حرف و بد لباس، کسی نیست جز «شوایک سرباز پاکدل» سابق، جنگجوی قهرمان و شجاع که در زمان سلطه ی اتریش، نامش مدام بر سر زبان اهالی «بوهم» بود. قهرمانی که بدون شک، از عزت و افتخار او در جمهوری تازه چکسلواکی کاسته نخواهد شد. شوایک سرباز پاکدل را بسیار دوست دارم. او مثل «اروسترات» سفیه، معبد «دیان» را آتش نزده است، تا نامش در جراید و کتاب‌های درسی کودکان بیاید. و این به گمانم به خودی خود بسیار زیباستشوایک سرباز پاکدل / یاروسلاو هاشک / ایرج پزشک‌زاد / کتاب زمان / چاپ دوم / تابستان 1383؛شوایک سرباز پاکدل / یاروسلاو هاشک / دی و بهمن 1385؛رمان شوایک سه بار و به سه شکل متفاوت به فارسی ترجمه و منتشر شده. پیش از انقلاب «حسن قائمیان» بخشی از رمان را با عنوان «مصدر سرکار ستوان» ترجمه و منتشر کرد. سپس «ایرج پزشکزاد» بخش اول رمان را با عنوان «شوایک؛ سرباز پاک دل» توسط نشر زمان به چاپ رساند. نسخه کامل را «کمال ظاهری» که سال­ها در مجارستان زندگی ­کرده از زبان مجاری به فارسی برگردانده، و در 908 صفحه به نشر چشمه سپرده و به چاپ رسیده است. ا. شربیانی

  • Nigeyb
    2019-07-02 12:20

    Jaroslav Hašek was an anarchist and anarchy runs through The Good Soldier Švejk like a stick of rock. It's anti-war, anti-establishment, anti-religion and, some say, even funnier than Catch-22. Apparently Joseph Heller based his hero Yossarian on Švejk. I read Catch-22 far too long ago to make a valid comparison. Oh, and Bertholt Brecht declared it the greatest book of the twentieth century. And, I can confirm, it really is quite something.... This Penguin Classics edition of The Good Soldier Švejk contains an informative introduction by Cecil Parrott which made me want to read a biography of Jaroslav Hašek. Helpfully, Cecil Parrott has written one: The Bad Bohemian: A Life Of Jaroslav Hašek Creator Of The Good Soldier Švejk.Before starting I was little daunted by the book's heft. It's 752 pages and that's not including the introduction. However, I needn't have worried: it's highly readable, very addictive, full of wonderfully distinctive and pleasing cartoon-like illustrations, and I was regularly reading 50 pages at a time.The book opens with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand where Švejk, a Czech living in Prague, immediately realises the significance of the assassination despite some initial confusion about which Ferdinand has been killed…‘Which Ferdinand, Mrs Müller?’ asked Švejk, continuing to massage his knees. ‘I know two Ferdinands. One of them does jobs for Prusa the chemist, and one day he drank a bottle of hair oil by mistake; and then there’s Ferdinand Kokoska who goes round collecting manure. They wouldn’t be any great loss, either of ‘em.’ ‘No, it’s the Archduke Ferdinand, the one from Konopiste, you know, the fat, pious one.’The Good Soldier Švejk is chock full of subversive humour and peppered with mad major-generals, hard-drinking priests, lecherous officers, all of whom operate in an absurd, imperialist world. Jaroslav Hašek combines amusing wordplay and piercing satire in this very funny depiction of the futility of war. I suspect this book is also an accurate depiction of the moral bankruptcy of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Švejk is a hapless, apparently guileless everyman who gets embroiled in the state’s bureaucratic machinery and yet, through his feigned stupidity, always manages to subvert those in authority to emerge unscathed whilst leaving chaos in his wake. Peter Sellers would have made a perfect screen version of Švejk and, coincidentally, Sellers used quotes from Švejk in his film 'A Shot in the Dark’.Švejk is constantly reducing officers to despair with his homely analogies and rambling anecdotes, not least the long suffering Lieutenant Lukáš who develops something of a love-hate relationship with Švejk. Švejk's idiocy however is, perhaps, his way of dealing with an insane world fighting an insane war. It is all a ploy. By constantly becoming embroiled in tine consuming investigations about his conduct, so his arrival at the front line is further delayed. He is also a prankster whose genius is that he subverts the authoritarian world as much for its own sake as for any other reason. His humour and apparent imbecility rendering him indestructible. No wonder he's such an enduring character. Josef Lada’s illustrations are one of the many delights of this book. Josef Lada (1887-1957) was a Czech painter and writer, however he is best known for illustrating this book. His cartoons are very simple but add another level of enjoyment to the book. He really captures the essence of Švejk’s simple charm and also the self-importance of some of the more senior officers. Click here to view some examples.Jaroslav Hašek died having completed four of the six proposed books, which - had he lived to finish it - would have made this tome even heftier, and therein lies my only criticism, due to its episodic structure The Good Soldier Švejk can occasionally be too rambling and repetitive however, read on a few pages, and there's another amusing scene to enjoy.This is an account of World War One far removed from heroism and honour, and which focuses more on idiotic, patriotic officers, drunk priests, skiving, conniving, brutality, boozing, death and the harsh reality of a moribund, unpopular Empire for those trying to survive at the bottom of the heap. The Good Soldier Švejk is a book which deserves to be more celebrated and widely read (outside the Czech republic where it is considered a classic). Jaroslav Hašek humorously shines an illuminating light on the experience of ordinary people whilst seismic historical events negatively impact their lives and so consequently inspires justifiable suspicion of patriotism, bureaucratic careerism and authoritarianism. All such nonsense is best mocked. The Good Soldier Švejk's truths are perhaps more relevant than ever.

  • Anthony Buckley
    2019-07-08 03:57

    The first time I read this book, as a teenager, I could not see the point. So I put it down without finishing it. Now I see it as one of the great books. The character of Svejk is straight out of folklore. He is the foolish man who somehow kills the giant, gets the princess and claims the gold. Except that here is no fairy tale, but a story of war and a story of bureaucrats and officialdom. Specifically, we at first witness Svejk, a bumbling lower class oaf who has been recruited into the army, and who, in consequence, daily encounters a sequence of bumbling upper class oafs, his officers. These latter individuals are running a totally disastrous war, the Great War for Civilization, which is destroying their own country of Austria Hungary. Svejk, however, is not moderately stupid. He is very very stupid. Indeed, he is so very stupid that he somehow manages to keep himself out of trouble and out of danger. Gradually, we wonder whether Svejk might actually be quite a clever man, who knows how to handle himself in the face of arbitrary power, bureaucracy and bone-headed idiocy. Finally, because the war's stupidity is actually quite a serious matter, we make another discovery. By an imperceptible transmogrification, Svejk ceases even to appear to the reader as a fool. Instead, we discover him to be a quiet, intelligent hero, the model, indeed for the Czechoslovak hero who emerged from the old Empire to found a new society.

  • mohsen pourramezani
    2019-06-26 04:57

    شوایک، مرد ساده دل و پرحرفی است که به علت احمق بودن از سربازی معاف شده اما با شروع جنگ جهانی اول تصمیم می‌گیرد برود و در جبهه بجنگد. هاشک این کتاب را ابتدا به صورت جزوه‌های جدایی منتشر می‌کرد و می‌فروخت. در بخش‌هایی از کتاب خود نویسنده نیز وارد می‌شود و توضیحاتی در مورد کتاب و برخی از اتفاق‌های واقعی جنگ می‌دهد. شوایک یکی از مهم‌ترین و معروف‌ترین کتاب‌های طنز قرن بیستم است. هاشک قبل از کامل کردن کتابش می‌میرد.متاسفانه نتوانستم تمامش کنم و از اواسط کتاب ولش کردم. با اینکه خواندنش را برای خودم واجب کرده بودم و داستان‌هایش هم طنز بود و اتفاقا طنز خوبی هم داشت اما از یک جایی به بعد ماجراهایش برایم تکراری می‌شد. به نظرم قسمتی از طنز کتاب هم به دلیل ترجمه و آشنا نبودن به جزییات فرهنگ چکِ صد سال پیش از بین رفته بود. با این حال نگاهِ ضد جنگ هاشک و دست‌انداختن قدرت‌های نظامی و مذهبی‌ را دوست داشتم.پ.ن: قسمت اول شوایک را «ایرج پزشکزاد» نیز ترجمه کرده. حتی برخی اعتقاد دارند که شخصیت «مش قاسم» در «دایی جان ناپلئون» از روی شخصیت «شوایک» گرفته شده است. برتولت برشت نیز با اقتباس از این کتاب نمایشنامه‌ای دارد به نام «شوایک در جنگ جهانی دوم»

  • Hadrian
    2019-07-07 06:02

    I've been on a roll with my reading recently. Love having time off.Anyways - it is often said that this novel was an inspiration for Catch-22. Like Catch-22, it is hilarious. Unfortunately, it tends to go on for a little too long, also like Catch-22.The moralizing in the end does tend to break up the monotony. The book ends abruptly, but this is due to the author's unfortunate death. This also explains some 'unpolished' sections of the book.Despite these flaws, it is still hilarious and very much worth your time if you want a good rollicking anti-war novel.

  • Наталия Янева
    2019-07-02 11:58

    Дали добрият войник Швейк е изпечен тарикат или породисто говедо ще остане една от енигмите в световната литература. По този въпрос сам Швейк би разказал някоя съмнителна историйка, която ще ви накара да зяпнете от учудване пред глупостта му, и в крайна сметка да забравите какво изобщо ви се е въртяло в ума преди малко.Швейк кротко се носи из страниците, а и из Първата световна война, с добродушното спокойствие (и умствения багаж) на едро преживно животно. Това обаче е по-скоро умела дегизировка. Всъщност той е направил откритие, което по важност се нарежда някъде между изобретенията на Едисън и Александър Бел, а именно – ако не можеш да надхитриш системата, то най-добре е да я надглупиш. Малко са ония, които няма да се стъписат при вида на по-голям тъпак от самите тях насреща си. Жаркото чувство за дълг на Йозеф Швейк под акомпанимента на несекващия му запас от локумести анекдоти разнебитва нервите на висшия ешелон. Сравненията с „Параграф 22“ и описания там абсурд на войната и злобност на офицерите, разбира се, са неминуеми. В романа на Хашек обаче простият войник не ще да играе безропотно ролята си на пушечно месо, вади белязано тесте от ръкава и на всичкото отгоре започва да блъфира. Защото живота ако не го измамиш, той лично се погрижва да те изпрати в авангарда.Ярослав Хашек използва събирателни и хиперболизирани образи. Неговите персонажи са представители на типовете, които се срещат във всяка сбирщина от над трима души (без да броим кучето, ако трябва да си помогнем с Джеръм Джеръм). Ненаситният глад на Балоун е бич не само за него, но и за кифлите и лебервурста на началството, оня „особен род земноводно“ поручик Лукаш е женкар от класа (низка, но то и това е вид класа), а подпоручик Дуб е трънът в задниците на войниците, който упорито отказва да излезе откъдето се е заврял. Самият Швейк е хлъзгава сплав от приспособенчество със силно изразена жилка хитрост, може би капка овчедушие и отсянка на непокорство. Да си войник в „скапаната австрийска монархия“ и свръзка на тесногръди дръвници не е за всеки, но с често буквалистичното изпълнение на дадените му заповеди и с нелепиците си Швейк елегантно докарва почти до апоплектичен бяс офицерството. Не е важно как отърваш наказанията и несгодите, важното е да си му намерил колая.Вместо заключение и с едно-две уточнения: „Приключенията на добрия войник Швейк“ е пиперлива сатира, която взима на подбив военщината и цялостното безумство, наречено „война“. Ярослав Хашек завещава на чешкия език нарицателното „швейковщина“, което ще рече най-общо ентусиазъм, обрамчен с весела имбецилност. Самият Хашек е бил анархист, служил е в австро-унгарската армия и е срещнал там доста от прототипите на персонажите си, та определено не е голословен и е успял да им придаде пълнокръвие. Прочетете за Швейк и се посмейте на брътвежите му и на кашите, които забърква. И имайте едно наум за войната. Винаги. Аз само за едно нещо съжалих накрая – че така и не успях да опозная подпоручик Дуб откъм опакото…

  • Mohsen Rajabi
    2019-06-22 04:14

    از جنگ زیاد خوانده‌ایم، دیده‌ایم و شنیده‌ایم. هم با جنگی که درایران رخ داده آشنا هستیم (البته به دلیل خط قرمزهایی که وجود دارد نه با همه‌ی جنبه‌هایش) و هم با جنگ‌هایی که در دنیا درگرفته‌اند. در این میان می‌توان گفت که دو جنگ جهانی قرن بیستم از همه بیشتر شناخته شده‌اند. شوایک را نیز از یک منظر می‌توان روایتی از جنگ جهانی اول دانست. یاروسلاو هاشک که خود از نزدیک در این جنگ حضور داشته، با طنزی تلخ که هیچ‌کس از زیر تیغ تیزش نمی‌تواند فرار کند به نقد از جنگ در درجه‌ی اول، و اجتماع در دیدی وسیع‌تر دست می‌زند.هر نویسنده‌ای ترفندی دارد و می‌توانم بگویم که یاروسلاو هاشک از یکی از بهترین روش‌ها استفاده کرده است: سربازی ساده –و گاهی وقت‌ها (اما نه همیشه) خل– که از ماجرایی به ماجرایی دیگر برده می‌شود. این سادگی ذاتی شوایک (که نویسنده وی را Good Soldier یا سرباز غیور می‌نامد) به صحنه‌ها و شخصیت‌های عجیب، پوچ، ریاکار، و گاه دوست‌داشتنی اضافه می‌شود و روایتی جذاب و خواندنی خلق می‌شود .شاید از زاویه‌ای، حتا بتوان موضوع جنگ را موضوع دوم کتاب در نظر گرفت و گفت که شوایک، در مورد خنده است. می‌توانم با اطمینان بگویم بهترین کتاب خنده‌داری است که تا به حال خوانده‌ام و بهترین اثر هنری خنده‌داری است که تا به حال با آن روبه‌رو شده‌ام. شوایک سرباز غیور ساده‌ای است که آن قدر داستان و حکایت بلد است که فکر می‌کنی بیش از همه‌ شخصیت‌های کتاب عمر کرده و پیری به نظر می‌رسد بی‌آنکه خود از خردی که دارد باخبر باشد و این جهل او نیز در خدمت روایت و خنداندن ما به خوبی استفاده می‌شود. به نظرم بیراه نیست اگر بگوییم شوایک ترکیب کاملی است از دن کیشوت و مهترش سانچو پانزا، البته بی‌آنکه چیزی از هویت مستقل خود شوایک کم شود.مشاهده‌ی جنگ از خلال چشمان تیزبین شوایک چیزی است که هیچ‌کس نباید آن را از دست بدهد، چون جنگ یکی از بدترین پدیده‌هایی است که همیشه با زندگی انسان‌ها درآمیخته است و انسان بزرگی چون شوایک شما را با دیدگاه جدیدی از جنگ آشنا می‌کند.این را هم باید اضافه کنم که ترجمه‌ی این کتاب شاید یکی از بهترین‌ ترجمه‌هایی است که تا به حال خواندم.

  • Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
    2019-06-20 10:12

    Mine is a 1943 edition of this by Penguin Books. The pages are brittle so I wasn't able to dog-ear, but all the pages are intact. Sewn-up and not merely glued, only four pages were detached. As the war was ongoing then, its back cover advertises "Penguin Specials" with titles like: "Modern Battle," "American vs. Germans," "How Russia Prepared," "How the Jap Army Fights," "New Soldier's Handbook," "Aircraft Recognition," "New Ways of War," etc. Another recommended title is "Guerrilla Warfare" with an introduction which partly states:"Hundreds of thousands of American, Canadian, and British fighting men are familiar with this book and consider it the single most helpful text on the fine art of exterminating Nazis and Japs. In short, the book tells:"Why regular soldiers, state and home guardsmen should learn guerrilla tactics."Why guerrilla warfare can be of immense value to the United Nations (as it is right now in Russia and Yugoslavia) and why it cannot be used by the Axis...."Nowadays, Penguin pocketbooks like this carry reproductions of paintings on their front covers. Here, the book's front cover only has a cartoon illustration showing the main character (as the illustrator imagined him to be) and a stereotyped Prussian officer (with his saber and moustache). Underneath, is a supposed short description of the book:"More than the most hilarious of all war books, this is the story of Schweik, the slippery-tongued Czech conscript who constantly outsmarts his German officers. The epic of a simple man whose native wit makes him invulnerable to the rigid methods of German militarism."Penguin Books got it all wrong. This is an ANTI-WAR novel. German officers were caricatured, lampooned, ridiculed and put in a bad light here but it was only because this was set during the first world war and was written by a Czech who had fought for the Austro-Hungarian empire in a losing war, was captured, and had spent several years in Russian prison camps. But it clearly portrays the utter pointlessness of the systematic carnage suffered by both sides of the conflict. If I were a soldier in ANY war and I had been given this book to read during lulls in the fighting I'll probably end up either being a deserter or an assassin of my own generals.The good soldier Schweik is Josef Schweik, seemingly a buffoon who would, without much hesitation, go meet a soldier's death like he is just taking a stroll in the park. His horse sense and luck, however, save him many times from such fate. This stark contrast with his guileless innocence and the horrors of war it confronts made this a truly memorable read for me.

  • Auguste
    2019-07-14 04:10

    A vastly amusing, compulsive read, Hašek's masterpiece is, moreover, a brutal satire of humanity's foulest self-inflicted plagues - war, organized religion and a savagely oppressive State - that retains too this day its power to shock and disturb. As for Josef Švejk, perhaps no other Everyman or antihero was ever so endearing. An unforgettable book and one of the few classics (Rabelais also comes to mind) that can be consumed with such greedy, giddy delight.

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-06-25 03:59

    I've read The Good Soldier Švejk twice - once when I was still adolescent and second time when I was already an adult. I enjoyed it both times though quite differently.I believe it is one of the first examples of postmodern novels full of delicious black humour.“I really don't know why those loonies get so angry when they're kept there. You can crawl naked on the floor, howl like a jackal, rage and bite. If anyone did this anywhere on the promenade people would be astonished, but there it's the most common or garden thing to do. There's a freedom there which not even Socialists have ever dreamed of.”This world of ours is a huge lunatic asylum and we are patients.

  • Núria
    2019-07-07 05:23

    'Las aventuras del bueno soldado Švejk' puede que sea el libro más divertido que he leído nunca y sin duda es la mejor parodia anti-bélica que he podido encontrar. El bueno de Švejk puede que sea un poco corto de entendederas, pero es un pozo sin fondo de anécdotas intrascendentes. Se mete siempre en unos líos demenciales, pero nunca a posta. Su mayor problema es que se lo toma todo al pie de la letra, es incapaz de entender un doble sentido o un sarcasmo, y cree ciegamente que la institución del ejército es infalible.Švejk empieza sus peripecias cuando se presenta voluntario para luchar en la primera guerra mundial, pero a raíz de un malentendido las cosas se complican hasta el absurdo y el buen soldado acaba siendo acusado de desertor. Entonces empieza para él un periplo de desfilar ante tribunales militares, policías, médicos, jueces, que se supone que tienen que juzgar si está capacitado o no para luchar en el ejército. Él lo acepta todo con buen ánimo, porque tiene la firme convicción que la autoridad siempre tiene razón.Algunos de los que se encuentran con Švejk creen que es un idiota (y si le preguntan, él responderá que sí que es un idiota, porque en el servicio militar efectivamente le declararon como tal). Por otra parte, otros piensan que es un caradura sarcástico que se está burlando de ellos en sus narices. Pero todos acaban, tarde o temprano, perdiendo los nervios con él, por sus meteduras de pata, por su verborrea parlanchina que nunca se agota, y/o por su incapacidad de entender lo que es una pregunta retórica y morderse la lengua. Así que continuamente le caen amenazas de tribunales de guerra y se pasa sus buenos ratos castigado en calabozos. Sin embargo, su buen ánimo no decae nunca, ni tampoco el respeto por sus superiores.De esta forma, Jaroslav Hašek construye una obra con aires de novela picaresca, con un humor absurdo delicioso, un lenguaje fresquísimo y una crítica brutal a la guerra pero también, de paso, a todas las instituciones jerárquicas; no sólo el ejército, sino también la iglesia, la policía, la política, etc. Es como un gran fresco que parece que lo abarca todo, en parte gracias al montón de anécdotas irrelevantes que el soldado Švejk suelta a la mínima ocasión, unas historias dentro de la historia que por lo general ridiculizan con una ironía salvaje los defectos humanos. Sí, definitivamente se trata de una novela bastante salvaje, en el sentido que no deja títere con cabeza y que es desenfadada hasta el descaro. Es una obra maestra de lo más intensa, con un ritmo trepidante, un humor desternillante y una crítica mordaz. Es una obra total, valiente y viva, incomparable, única.

  • Bruce
    2019-07-20 06:17

    This is the story of a simple soldier of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I. Throughout the first few chapters, Svejk seems like a harmless and naïve simpleton, the story reminding me of Candide, Voltaire’s version, however, coming more obviously out of an Enlightenment milieu, whereas Hasek’s version seems more like folk literature. How creatively Hasek develops this determines whether interest in the story can be maintained or whether the narrative becomes unimaginative and tedious. In fact, the episodes of this novel turn out to be picaresque, sufficiently varied and amusing as to be refreshing and interesting, underneath the superficial flippancy there being rather pointed political satire. It is skillfully written. Svejk himself quickly becomes endearing and, in his own ingenuous way, clever. The original illustrations scattered throughout the narrative are copious and delightful.Hasek skillfully uses dialogue to convey the individual personalities of his characters, Svejk in particular speaking with a simplicity that perfectly reflects the ambiguity with which the reader must contend: Is this a supreme simpleton or a supreme con-man? Is Svejk as ingenuous as he seems, or is he clever beyond belief? In any event, he is what E.M. Forster would have called a flat character, nothing about his character changing or developing over time. He is rather like Pickwick, used as a devise for ironically illuminating the society and history around him, Hasek’s primarily motive seemed to be a critique of the rapidly declining and spiritually empty Austro-Hungarian Empire near its demise. And the crux of the novel, the “hook” that defines the narrative and the nature of Svejk himself is whether he is an innocent or an ironist, the play between these possibilities being the vehicle that Hasek uses for social critique. War itself comes across seeming absurd in its bumbling and futility.Some critics have drawn parallels between Hasek’s novel and that of Rabelais. The latter is more fantastic and bawdy, although both are, to be sure, picaresque. The problem and challenge with any picaresque novel, be it Dickens’s Pickwick Papers, Rabelais’s work, or even that of Cervantes, is to keep the narrative from becoming formulaic and, finally, rather boring. Hasek does not perfectly succeed in this respect. It is said that he planned a much longer novel than its present 750 pages, dying before he could complete it. Would it be irreverent to admit that one is glad that he had no opportunity to write more?

  • Lahcen
    2019-07-20 12:17

    أراد هازيك أن يحدثنا عن أبطال "مجهولين و بسطاء" , لا يتمتعون بمجد نابليون , "لكن إذا عرفتهم عن قرب ستجدهم يتفوقون حتى على الاسكندر الكبير" .. يقدم هازيك بطله في شوارع براغ ...إنسان يرتدي ملابسا رثة لا يدرك حتى هو مكانته في تاريخ المرحلة الجديدة العظيمة , يمشي في طريقه بتواضع , لا يزعج أحدا و لا يلاحقه الصحفيون من أجل مقابلة , إذا سألته عن اسمه سيجيبك بكل بساطة "سيفيك" .. هكذا نتعرف على سيفيك , إنه جندي تشيكي في جيش الإمبراطورية النمساوية المجرية , جندي من ملايين الجنود الذين قتلوا بعضهم بعضا فيما يسميه المؤرخون بالحرب العالمية الأولى .. هازيك نفسه شارك في تلك الحرببدأت الحرب بمقتل الأرشيدوق فرديناند , ولي عهد الإمبراطورية النمساوية المجرية , في ساراييفو .. "إذن فقد قتلوا "فرديناندنا" , عندما سمع سيفيك أخبار موت فرديناند من خادمته يجيب "أي فرديناند سيدة مولر ؟" , "أعرف شخصين اسمهما فرديناند , الأول مراسل عند بروسا , الصيدلاني , شرب ذات مرة بالخطأ زجاجة زيت للشعر ... و الآخر هو فرديناند كوكوسكا , الذي يجمع روث الكلاب . و موت أي منهما لا يمكن أن يكون خسارة" , فيأتيه الرد "كلا سيدي , إنه صاحب السمو الإمبراطوري" .. بعد هذا الاكتشاف تبدأ رحلة الجندي الطيب سيفيك , سيعلن أولا حماسته لخدمة إمبراطور النمسا – المجر في الميدان , و لإصابته المزعومة بالروماتيزم تقوم خادمته بدفعه على كرسي متحرك إلى مركز تجنيد الجيش الإمبراطوري في براغ , حيث سيقابل عناصر المكتب حماسته تلك بفتور , و بعد أن يتفوه بملاحظات "سياسية خطيرة" تعتقله الشرطة السرية , ثم يحال إلى مستشفى للمجانين , و من ثم ينقل إلى مستشفى للمتمارضين لزعمه الإصابة بالروماتيزم , قبل أن ينضم إلى الجيش أخيرا كمرافق لضابط , سرعان ما سيخسره الأخير لصالح ضابط آخر في لعبة ورق , ثم سيتوه في جنوب بوهيميا باحثا عن فرقته العسكرية فيعتقل بتهمة الفرار من الخدمة , ليسلم أخيرا إلى فرقته العسكرية , قبل أن يتهم ثانية بأنه جاسوس للأعداء و بعد أن ينجو بالكاد من الإعدام يعود من جديد إلى فرقته العسكرية .. هنا انتهت مغامرة سيفيك الطيب , فقد مات هازيك قبل أن يكمل قصته.من أروع ما قرأت شكرا "هازيك

  • Wendy
    2019-06-23 05:14

    My initial reaction to this book after reading the first few chapters is that it reminded me of Catch-22. Sure enough, after some research, I found out that Heller credits Hasek's work as one of his key influences. If you appreciate the biting satire, base humor, and no-holds-barred castigation of bureaucratic organizations in Catch-22, you love it in Svejk as well. Sveyk, the (seemingly) good-natured and dopey Dudley-Do-Right of the Czech contingent in the Austria-Hungarian army during WWI is a well known "hero" in his home country. He represents the "little people" on a world scale, the powerless little countries that have been at the mercy of their militant neighbors throughout the 20th century. Sveyk, unable to assert any form of control on the political chaos around him, engages in a more passive-aggressive tactic. Pretending to be a patriotic supporter of the war, he ensures, through "innocent" bumbling mistakes, that more energy be required to get him to the front than necessary. Although officially labeled an "imbecile" by the military, Sveyk's canniness shines though in his ability to shame and/or outwit the forces that try to impose him (and what greater enemy of the common soldier exists than his own chain of command?) Secondary and tertiary players provide a colorful cast of caricatures: the sozzled chaplain who falls over drunk at mass, the idiot general who speaks in platitudes, the ambitious cadet whose cognac hangover is misdiagnosed as cholera, and finally the Sveyk's own well-meaning and hopelessly frustrated superior officer Lt. Lukas. All of this shows us the political quagmire of WWI eastern Europe and shocks us because really, has anything changed?

  • Stark
    2019-06-23 06:11

    I wanted to read this because I knew that Svejk was the forbear of one of the ur-texts of sad-eyed high school existentialists, namely, Catch-22. Joseph Heller said he could never have written his surreal epic without having read this WWI picaresque by Hasek. I thought I was going to love it, obviously. While perusing Svejk was interesting in a historical sense, unfortunately I ended up not finding it as enjoyable as I had hoped. Despite the many lavish descriptions of how to fight bureaucracy with drunkenness and ironic stupidity, it's long, it gets very repetitive, and I don't think I had the cultural context to really appreciate it.Which made me realize something though....maybe every time a writer, artist, or filmmaker thinks they are "ripping something off" that they like...perhaps they are really just helping it make it into the next few generations in a form that's better adapted for the people of the future to understand. Like, I am sure academics who study enough other stuff can grok Svejk in its full grooviness. But I for one, am glad that Heller transmitted whatever he saw in Svejk to me in a way that could blow my teenage mind forever in his own book.

  • Casper
    2019-07-18 08:25

    It took me more than two years to finish this book. Had managed to get until half-way upon buying it, but couldn't get myself to continue. Basically, it's just more and more of the same. On the other hand, that "same" is also pretty damn good. And so, after two years of hesitation I decided to give its second half another chance and liked it. This novel has brilliant satiric comedy, crazy pictures and the highest amount of anecdotes I've ever come across. It's definitely flawed in some parts, with a number of redundant scenes for which the author didn't have time to do any editing. But still, I would've like to give Svejk five stars, were it not for its crazy length of 750 pages. If you want to do "the Czech book" don't do Kundera but choose Hasek instead.

  • Justin Evans
    2019-06-27 08:18

    A very amusing book, with rather diminishing rewards; there are only so many times you can make the joke about how the soldier ate the officer's food before it starts to get boring, and I more or less stopped paying attention to those jokes at the end of part two--which meant part three was more tedious than entertaining. Hasek didn't finish it, and that's probably a good thing. I fear the 1000 page monster which is still recycling jokes by page 989. It's also good because the point of the book as it stands seems to be that Svejk avoids ever actually, you know, fighting in the war, and if the book had ended, he would have had to i) fight, which would have ruined the effect, or ii) not fight, which would have led to still more endless jokes. This review is getting as drawn out as the book, so: read this over a long period, long enough that you can respond to the repeated jokes the way people used to respond to repeated jokes in TV sitcoms. Hasek had an endless supply of stupid stories for Svejk to tell, which is the heart and joy of the book; he did not have an endless supply of stories for Svejk to act act, which means long stretches of this are static and uninteresting. Better, then, for dipping into than for concerted reading (which is, I regret, how I usually read). And extra star for being the best-illustrated novel I have ever and probably will ever read, graphic novels included.

  • Leslie
    2019-07-01 10:11

    3.5*This WW1 classic Czech novel reminded me of Catch-22 or M.A.S.H. -- black humor about the way armies work. I much prefered this older translation to that of Sadlon's new one I started off with in Book 1 and also enjoyed Lada's illustrations this book had.

  • Nicola
    2019-07-14 12:17

    Well thank goodness that's over! It's not that it was bad, it was that it was so overly long and repetitive that the mild humour became overshadowed by the 'oh here we go again' as the anti hero launched into one of his innumerable tales about dog only knows what until my eyes glazed over, my brain melted out my ears and I thought of about 10 other books that I could be reading right now instead of this. The seemingly brainless Svejk who was called up to 'do his duty' in WWI spent all of his time winding up the more pompous of his fellow men (usually officers and bureaucrats) and the occasional woman too. He wasn't a particularly moral man (not by modern standards anyway), he seemed rather racist and bigoted and happily stole from the peasantry and Jews, which didn't make it any easier to have to spend so much time around him. The author was an anarchist and the book was a seemingly incoherent mess which actually concealed a definite underlying structure. It was pretty clever and the jokes and stories were pretty good. For about the first 300 pages or so. By then it was beginning to pall and there was still 400 pages to go. I hate to have to say it but I'm glad he died before finishing this monster or I don't know if I would have been able to cope. I'm shifting uneasily in my chair just thinking about it!

  • Andrew Walter
    2019-07-07 12:20

    Vanek asked with interest: "How long do you think the war will go on, Svejk?" "Fifteen years," answered Svejk. "That's obvious because once there was a Thirty Years War and now we're twice as clever as they were before, so it follows that thirty divided by two is fifteen"This is an unusually succinct quote from our good naturedGood Soldier Svejk , who is normally given to interminable rambling anecdotes to illustrate his point (or sometimes seemingly just to pass the time), and it neatly sums up the attitude of this great book too. Is he a flippant insubordinate, or is he a just a genuine idiot? The idea of picaresque novels is something that I have been getting very interested in recently and so this book really hit the spot. Essentially the plot concerns Svejk's relationship to the military machine of the Austro-Hungarian empire in World War 1, and his journey from his comfortable existence in Prague selling "counterfeit dogs" (!) to the line of battle at the Galician front. At least it would be if Hasek hadn't died before completing the series. After reading for awhile though, as he manages to get lost, get drunk, and get imprisoned again and again I started to wonder if Hasek had ever intended him to get into combat (proper, "official" combat instead of the occasional arse kickings and street rucks). Many reviewers seem to think this would never have been the case, but there is a slight shift in tone further toward the poignant and macabre near the end of the fourth volume that makes me think he would have been able to give us his gentle observations on the brutality of war. These moments, where Svejk and his comrades are bemusedly standing around, surrounded by human carrion and destroyed villages, make me wonder just how much darker these books would have become.Svejk is firmly in the subordinate role throughout the book, serving as batman to a chaplain and then lieutenant (after being lost in a game of cards!) and moving on to being an orderly. For such a simple fellow he is a very interesting character, and you'll grow to love him even though he has a definite mean streak running through him. A sort of running joke throughout is the innocent, angelic expression on his simple idiotic face when confronted by raging authority figures (gendarmes, military superiors, and so on) and it never failed to make me laugh. The more pompous and outraged they become, the calmer and more gentle an expression he assumes. It's not all flagrant disobedience of his superiors though, as Svejk does seem to warm to a couple of his immediate superiors. The eternally exasperated Lieutenant Lukas seems to warm to our main character as the story progresses, and the drunken, disgraceful, yet somehow still dignified chaplain Otto Katz seems and ideal match for Svejk and a stand up guy. He was probably my favourite character in the whole book and I was sad to see him go.This is apparently the best translation there is of the book, but it also seems to be a rather impossible task. It seems that much of the humour in the original Czech comes from the cultural or religious differences between Germans, Czechs, Hungarians and Russians at the time, and while this does come across it seems that a lot of fun was had with language. Sometimes the only way to represent this is with, for example, Basil Fawlty-esque cod German (Haff You Viped Your Arsch?) which is a shame but obviously it would have been impossible to translate badly spoken Czech. I love the Czech names and pronounciation and the book is so vibrantly witty even in English that it makes one want to learn.I need to enter a final note on the drawings accompanying the text. For me, Josef Lada's illustrations really make this book the complete article. While Hasek constructs the attitudes of his sometimes grotesque characters throughout the four volumes purely through their rollicking dialogue and absurd or deadpan behaviour, we almost never get physical descriptions of them and so the hundreds of brilliant, bold drawings really help to keep the storylines precise and to flesh out the characters. They are extremely expressive and fresh, reminiscent of a more rural E.C. Segar. I get the impression that they are as definitive to this book as Tenniel's drawings are toAlice In Wonderland So, for anyone with distaste for authority, love of drinking, or interest in the historical period (Of which this book is an ideal way to get a bit more of an insight to- I was fairly clueless beforehand) you could do a lot worse than pick up Svejk! It's best to read in an episodic fashion due to the already mentioned rambling nature of the characters, but if that doesn't put you off you will be laughing until the sadly abrupt end.

  • Cam
    2019-06-20 06:15

    If you like historical fiction written by contemporaries about recent events, like "All's Quiet on the Western Front," and that depict events from a new perspective - try out this hidden classic. If you don't often hear the German side of WWI in U.S. history classes, you also hear even less about the other losers like Austria-Hungary. This novel gives a great glimpse behind the scenes as the twilight years of the Hapsburgs unfold in this "first" of the Great Wars across Europe and the rest of the world. Svejk (Schweik in some translations) is a Falstaffian soldier who either deliberately or guilessly avoids all work, conflict, combat, etc. as he traipses through the war on the southeastern fronts in the multi-national conflict that was the collapse of four empires in the making. He's sort of a cross of an Everyman, a small nation Eastern European (Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Serb, Croat, Slovene, etc), Don Quixote, and a precursor to Hogan's Heroes Sgt. Schultz. A fun read that opens up how complex the times really were, how hard it was to be in a multi-national state trying to compete in the 20th century, and how horrible any outcome was going to be. A precursor to such novels as "Catch-22"; it makes you question your own understanding of events and what was lost to the grinding warfare of WWI on any front.

  • Pavel
    2019-06-29 05:19

    If you followed TV News too much and just need something anti-militaristic and hilarious at the same time - you've found the right book! Worthlessness and cruelty of a regime (literally - Austro-Hungarian one) towards its own people, fraud, corruption and queen of them all - the WAR. Year 1914. Josef Svejk, a dog seller, drafted into army to fight on a meaningless war, somehow knows a way around those things - he feigns idiocy. And it works! Especially when we get to see who is real idiots there - bureaucrats and army ranks.

  • Laura
    2019-07-17 03:59

    From BBC Radio 4 - Classical Serial:Dramatisation by Christopher Reason of the satirical Czech novel by Jaroslav Hasek that charts the exploits of a WWI soldier.When he seems to celebrate the death of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Svejk is arrested and so starts his progress through the ranks of the Austro-Hungarian army.

  • Shan
    2019-07-05 08:57

    This book is hilarious. I love Svejk. I wish I could have his attitude to life. There's a Svejk restaurant in Prague that's got images of Svejk on napkins, menus, etc. Stumbled across it one night when we were freezing cold and didn't have any more Czech money and the place we were going to eat didn't take credit cards. It was the only place around that was open and warm. Truly a Svejk moment.

  • Gray Side
    2019-07-06 10:13

    شخصية شفيك ممتعة حتى يبدأ بسرد قصصه المطولة، حين تجتمع السذاجة والثرثرة تكون النتيجة قصص شفيك التي لا نهاية لها، أجواء الحرب والقوى العظمى في ذلك الوقت لا تختلف كثيراً عن الحروب المعاصرة، تناول الكاتب الجانب الطريف منها برفقة الجندي الطيب شفيك صاحب النظرات الأكثر براءة.