The Spirit Of Prague | Granta

  • Published: 11/07/2000
  • ISBN: 9781862071025
  • 128x20mm
  • 192 pages

The Spirit Of Prague

Ivan Klima

Translated by Paul Wilson

Ivan Klima witnessed the horrors of Nazi occupation during the war (he began to write in Terezin concentration camp), the Stalinist regimes of the 1950s, the celebrations of the Prague Spring (Klima was the editor of Czechoslovakia’s most important literary magazine), the despair of the Soviet invasion in 1968, the bravery of the members of Charter 77, the triumph of the Velvet Revolution in 1989, and the uncertainty following the formal division of his country.

This collection of essays by one of Europe’s most brilliant and humane novelists charts five critical decades in the history of Czechoslovakia. In the title essay, Klima invokes the spirit of the city that has shaped and sustained him: ironical, cultured, accustomed to adversity but full of hope – a spirit embodied by his heroes, Kafka, Hašek and Havel, and one which has informed Klima’s own unique perspective over fifty years of writing.

Ivan Klima is one of the greatest writers of Czecoslovakia. He is as good as Milan Kundera, Josef Škvorecký, and Václav Havel

Daily Telegraph

The Author

Ivan Klima was born in 1931 in Prague, where he now lives, and was editor of the journal of the Czech Writers’ Union during the Prague Spring. He is the author of many plays, stories and novels, including Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light, The Ultimate Intimacy and My Golden Trades, and a non-fiction book, The Spirit of Prague, all of which are published by Granta Books. His work, which is now published worldwide, was once banned in his own country.

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The Translator

Paul Wilson was born in 1960. He is the author of four previous novels, The Fall from Grace of Harry Angel, Days of Good Hope, Do White Whales Sing at the Edge of the World? and Noah, Noah. He lives in Darwen, Lancashire, and works in the field of learning disability.

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From the Same Author

Ivan Klima on

Fiction | The Online Edition

Don’t Forsake Me

Ivan Klíma

'Bára went to the church on the advice of her friend Ivana. She had been suffering from occasional bouts of depression', Ivan Klíma in 'Don't Forsake Me' in Granta 59: France: The Outsider.

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

Progress in Prague

Ivan Klíma

‘People in the West are aware of the hardship and bewilderment that accompanied the political and economic transformation of central and eastern Europe after 1989.'

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

A Childhood in Terezin

Ivan Klíma

‘I am trying to reach, in memory, a time before the war began.’