Hasek, Jaroslav

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Hašek, Jaroslav

(yä`rōsläf hä`shĕk), 1883–1923, Czech writer, b. Prague. His experiences as a soldier in World War I inspired his famous novel The Good Soldier Schweik (4 vol., 1920–23; tr. 1930), a satire on the Austrian military bureaucracy and on war in general. The ludicrous adventures of the goodhearted Schweik make the business of war an absurdity. The novel won Hašek international fame and was adapted for stage and film. Brecht wrote a sequel to the book in 1944. Hašek also wrote many volumes of short stories.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hašek, Jaroslav


Born Apr. 30, 1883, in Prague; died Jan. 3, 1923, in Lipnice. Czech writer.

Hašek was born into the family of a teacher. He graduated from a school of commerce. Hašek first appeared in print at the beginning of the 20th century with travel sketches and humorous genre studies. In his later satirical stories and articles, distinguished by the acuteness of subject matter and accuracy of social characterizations, Hašek castigated the Austrian military, the governmental bureaucracy, bourgeois morality and culture, and the church and revealed the hard lot of the people. During World War I, in 1915, Hašek was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. Soon he yielded himself prisoner to the Russians. In 1916 he joined the Czechoslovak military unit which had been organized in Russia and wrote for the newspaper Českoslován (Kiev). After the October Revolution, Hašek began to support Soviet power and joined the RCP (Bolshevik) and the Red Army (Moscow, 1918). He conducted party work in the political department of the Fifth Army at the Eastern Front and contributed articles to frontline newspapers. In his Russian-language feuilletons Hašek assailed the interventionists, Kolchak, the counterrevolutionary clergy, and the bourgeoisie. In 1920, Hašek returned to his homeland. Hounded by the bourgeois press, he struck back with articles exposing the bourgeois system and defending Soviet Russia. The acme of Hašek’s work was the novel The Good Soldier Švejk (1921-23, unfinished), which combined realistic pictures of folk life with keen and grotesque satire. Švejk is the “little man,” the spokesman for spontaneous popular protest against the war; the mask of a naïve simpleton makes it possible for him to oppose the bourgeois governmental apparatus successfully and to reveal in a comic form the anti-popular essence of the bourgeois social system. The novel was dramatized and made into motion pictures many times. In Czechoslovakia (in the city of Lipnice), the Hašek Museum was opened in 1959. In the USSR streets have been named after Hašek in Moscow, Bugul’ma, Cheliabinsk, and other cities.


Spisy, vols. 1-10, 15-16. Prague, 1955-68.
In Russian translation:
Pokhozhdeniia bravogo soldata Shveika vo vremia mirovoi voiny, parts 1-4. Moscow, 1963.
Sobr. soch., vols. 1-5. Moscow, 1966.


Fučik, J. “Voina so Shveikom.” In his book Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1955.
Elanskii, N. Ia. Gashek v revoliutsionnoi Rossii. Moscow, 1960.
Dunaevskii, A. M. Idu za Gashekom. Moscow, 1963.
Vostokova, S. Ia. Gashek: Kritiko-biograficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1964.
Shevchuk, V. Ia. Gashek. Kiev, 1965.
Shcherbakov, Iu. Pisatel’, agitator, boets. Moscow, 1966.
Shmel’kova, I. A. Ia. Gashek: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1959.
Ančik, Zd. O životě J. Haška. Prague, 1953.
Křížek, J. J. Hašek v Revolučním Rusku. Prague, 1957.
Pytlík, R., and M. Lajske. Bibliografie J. Haška. Prague, 1960.
Pytlík, R. J. Hašek. Prague, 1962.
Frynta, E. Hašek der Schöpfer des Schwejk. [Prague, 1965.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.