Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

In Jaroslav Haek’s novel, The Good Soldier: vejk, in what ways does vejk appear to be “a patent idiot”?

What evidence suggests vejk is an educated man?

How does Haek’s use of specific place names affect your reading of The Good Soldier: vejk?

How does the narrator’s point of view differ from vejk’s?

Some critics claim that vejk is amoral. Do you agree? Support your opinion with examples.


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bryant-Bertail, Sarah. “The Good Soldier Schweik as Dialectical Theater.” In The Performance of Power: Theatrical Discourse and Politics, edited by Sue-Ellen Case and Janelle Reinelt. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991. Examines the role Haek’s soldier plays as a character in political theater.

Parrott, Cecil. The Bad Bohemian: A Life of Jaroslav Haek. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978. The standard English-language biography.

Parrott, Cecil. Jaroslav Haek: A Study of vejk and the Short Stories. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982. Provides a brief biography and extensive background for all Haek’s works. In particular, Parrott discusses the major controversy of Haek’s life, his service with the Red Army, and discusses its impact on the author’s work and reputation.

Pynsent, R. B. “Jaroslav Haek.” In The Twentieth Century. Vol. 9 of European Writers, edited by George Stade. New York: Scribner, 1989. Haek’s place in the history of the novel is explained.

Pytlík, Radko. “World Significance of Jaroslav Haek’s Work.” Panorama 5 (1983). Details the continuing popularity of Haek’s most famous character.

Snyder, John. “The Politics and Hermeneutics of Anarchist Satire.” Literature Interpretation Theory 2, no. 4 (1991). Ties Haek’s writing to his lifelong political dissent.