Reading Václav Havel
As a playwright, a dissident, and a politician, Václav Havel was one of the most important intellectual figures of the late twentieth century. Working in an extraordinary range of genres – poetry, plays, public letters, philosophical essays, and political speeches – he left behind a range of texts so diverse that scholars have had difficulty grappling with his oeuvre as a whole.
In Reading Václav Havel, David S. Danaher approaches Havel’s remarkable body of work holistically, focusing on the language, images, and ideas which appear and reappear in the many genres in which Havel wrote. Carefully reading the original Czech texts alongside their English versions, he exposes what in Havel’s thought has been lost in translation. A passionate argument for Havel’s continuing relevance, Reading Václav Havel is the first book to capture the fundamental unity of his vast literary legacy.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 280 pages
- Illustrations: 3
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.9in x 9.3in
Reviews“Reading Václav Havel is a refreshing book that will help us see Havel in a new way. By redirecting our attention to Havel’s language and genres, Danaher makes a genuine contribution to our understanding of his work. More generally, he helps us think about how to approach ‘literary’ philosophers and ‘philosophical’ writers – how to interpret their ideas while still investigating their language and form.”
Jonathan Bolton, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
“This is among the best books written on Havel in the English language. Perhaps the richest and fullest account of Havel made by any scholar, Reading Václav Havel brings to light the extraordinary literary power of the former Czech president.”
James Pontuso, Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, Hampden-Sydney College
Author InformationDavid S. Danaher is a professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Table of contents
Introduction: Approaches to Reading Havel
1. The “Restlessness of Transcendence”: Havel’s Genres
2. Explaining and Understanding: The “Weirdness” of Havel’s Plays
3. Understanding East and West: The World in Existential Crisis
4. “Metaphysical Reconstruction”: Translating Havel’s Key Words
Conclusion: Havel’s Legacy as Appeal
Subjects and Courses