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More than a drunkard and a drunkard. The conference will remind the overlooked features of Hrabal’s work – 2024-03-31 01:49:53

The organizers of the international conference called Bohumil Hrabal non-idyllicky want to draw attention to the ambiguity of the work of the writer Bohumil Hrabal and the overlooked aspects of his work. On the occasion of the 110th anniversary of the author’s birth, which fell on March 28, it will be organized by the Nymburk Municipal Library and Charles University.

The event, with the participation of more than two dozen lecturers, will take place in Nymburk’s Sokol cinema from April 25 to 27.

“Hrabal is often perceived as a drunkard, a drunkard, a teller of pub stories. But the essence of most of his works lies elsewhere – in deep education and even metaphysical overlap,” says Jan Červinka, director of the Nymburk library. According to him, the conference is intended to draw attention to other features of Hrabal’s texts, which are often overlooked by Czech readers.

The program will include contributions by Czech literary scholars and historians, experts and translators of Hrabal’s books from France, Japan, Germany or Poland, where Hrabal is one of the most widely read authors. Specifically, for example, Anna Kareninová, Jiří Pelán, Xavier Galmiche, Josef Fulka, Pavel Hošek or Sylvie Richterová will speak.

“The goal of the conference is to search for and find the forgotten image of Hrabal’s work as serious, non-trivial, difficult to interpret, semantically rich and diverse literature. A unifying theme could be a certain non-idyllic nature of Hrabal’s work, its philosophical overlap and grounding, but also its ironic relationship to historical events and first of all to oneself,” adds literary scholar Jakub Česka, guarantor of the conference program from the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University.

The conference will be open to the wider public after registration. The accompanying program should include, for example, a commented literary walk through Nymburk, an excursion to Kersk or a performance by the Bratislava band Tornádo Lue, which set Hrabal’s poems to music, among other things. A detailed program can be found on the website.

Bohumil Hrabal lived from 1914 to 1997. Until 1963, when he became a writer by profession, the native of Brno alternated with a number of occupations, including theater stagehand, traveling salesman, and wrapper of paper in collecting raw materials. During his lifetime, he was, next to Milan Kundera, the most famous contemporary Czech novelist in the world, his work was translated into three dozen languages.

“Hrabal uniquely captured the charm of the periphery and the voice of the most despised,” literary scholar Michal Jareš wrote about him, according to whom Hrabal’s attempt to capture the spoken language forever influenced Czech literature, and the “tavern story” became one of the recognizable and poetic principles of post-war Czech prose for a long time.

Recently, Hrabala has been remembered, among other things, by the publications of the Polish bohemian Aleksander Kaczorowski. It is based on the motif of Hrabal’s suicide. The author looks for traces of the compulsion to end his own life in Hrabal’s fate until the last months. “The writing is readable, but it kind of flows over the surface,” literary critic Petr A. Bílek criticized the book.

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