Representative works of Czech literature from the 1920s to the present in the context of earlier Czech and general European literary trends. Emphasis on prose and drama of major writers, including Hasek, Capek, Vancura, Skvorecky, Kundera, Vaculik, and Havel.
The writer Franz Kafka, a German-speaking Czech Jew living in Prague in the early 20th century, produced a body of work that has come to embody the modern condition of alienation, disorientation and angst – in short, the Kafkaesque. This course surveys Kafka’s oeuvre – his major novels “The Castle,” “The Trial” and “Amerika”; several short stories; letters and autobiographical pieces – as well as the milieu which produced them: the Jewish community of Prague at the end of the Austro-Hungarian empire. In addition, we will examine Kafka’s tremendous influence on Czech literature, through a reading of Bohumil Hrabal’s “Too Loud a Solitude,” and consider his impact on world literary culture.