A War Poet in Absentia : the Year 1918 in Jaroslav Hašek’s Literary Output Article - Septembre 2019

Jean Boutan

Luc Robène, Luc Robène
Jean Boutan, « A War Poet in Absentia : the Year 1918 in Jaroslav Hašek’s Literary Output  », Przegląd Humanistyczny, septembre 2019, pp. 81-96. ISSN 0033-2194


This article purports to give an outline of the major evolutions in Hašek’s literary output around the year 1918, a year that saw not only the end of the world war, but also, for the writer himself, the start of the Russian civil war. The Russian Revolution meant for Hašek, as he wrote in 1918, the transition from a “war between States” – or “war between Empires” – to a “war of the proletariat against capitalism”. The lack of safe information about Hašek’s biography during this short, yet crucial, period of his life does not still prevent us from retracing the repercussions of the great events of 1918 on the east front – the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the founding myth of the Czechoslovakian Legion and the beginnings of the Soviet Union – in the literary works of an author who has been taxed for being a renegade to each of the three aforementioned causes. The particular issue of Švejk’s maturation during the war may help us to put the year 1918 into a perspective with the end (though, only to some extent) of the conflicts and the beginning (however protracted) of the post-war period. Whereas the novel was about the Good Soldier’s bursting into the conflict, this article observes Hašek himself, walking out of the world war.

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