By Josef Hirsal
Winner of the 1998 PEN heart united states West Award for translation
Josef Hirsal's experimental novel is a Dada-like romp in the course of the lifetime of a tender guy born right into a Bohemian peasant family members. informed in 5 components, A Bohemian early life starts with a observe to the clever, strikes directly to the textual content, keeps with notes and with notes to the be aware, and ends with a observe at the notes to the notes.
More than simply a tongue-in-cheek parody of a literary memoir, A Bohemian formative years is a glimpse of the 1st Czechoslovak Republic as visible in the course of the eyes of a tender peasant from the provinces. Abounding in intimate details--the manners of a servant woman, the conduct of town gay, the sounds of renowned tune; the best way humans consume in wartime--Hirsal's novel is a wrenching and hilarious story of a tender man's emotional and sexual awakening.
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Extra resources for A Bohemian Youth (Writings from an Unbound Europe)
1. In the small wooden house Grandfather had there. See notes 24 and 25. 2. Most of them are gone now, replaced by monu ments of artificial stone, a combination of cement and gravel. They used to be found not only in the Chomutice cemetery but in cemeteries for miles around. According to Mother, they were particularly numerous in Velezice, where she would go with her parents for butter and eggs. 3. When the dance he was playing for was over, the innkeeper would let him sleep on a table. The next morn ing he would be given a drink before he set out for other pubs.
Urlaub/ orldb—that is, “leave” —was usually granted for Christmas and for work in the fields, especially at harvest time. Father happened to be on agricultural leave at the end of August 1918. A leave tended to be two to three weeks long, and the soldier’s local police station was informed of the date he was due back to make sure he did not overstay it. My father was under the surveillance of Police Chief Belina. When his three weeks were up, however, he hid in the attic (my grandmother took him his meals), and there he stayed until the Czechoslovak Republic was declared on 28 October.
People called him Cock Robin (presumably a reference to sodomy) or Natius (because he was baptized Hynek, that is, Ignatius). He went barefoot from spring to autumn and enjoyed spying on amorous couples, for which he received an occasional thrashing. 7. Bachelor, veteran of the Czech Legion in Russia, and longtime member of the Sokol Gymnastic Society Ex ecutive Board and District Council. Whenever the local amateur theater put on a patriotic work, he would play the Legionnaire. 8. Father had a black mustache all his life and never tired of twisting it.