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The Good Soldier Švejk (Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války #1-4)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  7,350 ratings  ·  431 reviews
In The Good Soldier Svejk, celebrated Czech writer and anarchist Jaroslav Hasek combined dazzling wordplay and piercing satire in a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war.

Good-natured and garrulous, Svejk becomes the Austro-Hungarian Army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of World War I - although his bumbling attempts to ge

Paperback, Twentieth Century Classics, 752 pages
Published August 23rd 1990 by Penguin Books (first published 1921)
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1984 by George OrwellPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Man Without Qualities by Robert MusilFaust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Best European Literature
62nd out of 701 books — 271 voters
A Modest Proposal by Jonathan SwiftCandide by VoltaireVanity Fair by William Makepeace ThackerayCatch-22 by Joseph HellerA Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Classic Satire
11th out of 24 books — 8 voters

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Community Reviews

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MJ Nicholls
The Czech antidote to Heller’s Catch-22 (a wonderful but overpraised anti-war satire), this anarchistic (and openly misogynistic) classic is bolder, bawdier, barmier and another B-bouncing word than Heller’s similar book thing. The premise here is that the balding and plump Švejk (or so he appears in the smile-raising illustrations) pretends to be an idiot to “dodge the draft,” but his motivations are deeper and his brain power plumper—he remembers his officer’s orders verbatim and is able to pa ...more
Apr 20, 2015 Tony rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: czech, wwi
Humbly report, Sir, but I've been reading this book called The Good Soldier Švejk which I had not planned to read as part of my World War I project, but there you have it. It's a satire of the stupidity of war, of governments and armies and regulations, of class struggles. Of being a Czech, and nevertheless in the Austrian army. To deal with the absurdity of it all, you need an anti-hero. Which would be this guy:


One buffoonerous episode...

follows another...

and another...

Yes, the drawings
Probably the funniest book ever written about the first world war.

This isn't really a novel, more of a series of anecdotes linked together by a few characters and whose narrative drive grows weaker as the work progresses. It was written in instalments and I have never heard tell that there was an overall plan for the book.

Much of what happens and even bizarre stories like the editor who invented new animals to write about for a regular animal magazine are drawn from Hašek's own experiences.

It wa
Anthony D Buckley
Mar 25, 2009 Anthony D Buckley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
The first time I read this book, as a teenager, I could not see the point. So I put it down without finishing it. Now I see it as one of the great books. The character of Svejk is straight out of folklore. He is the foolish man who somehow kills the giant, gets the princess and claims the gold. Except that here is no fairy tale, but a story of war and a story of bureaucrats and officialdom.

Specifically, we at first witness Svejk, a bumbling lower class oaf who has been recruited into the army,
Mohsen Rajabi
از جنگ زیاد خواندهایم، دیدهایم و شنیدهایم. هم با جنگی که درایران رخ داده آشنا هستیم (البته به دلیل خط قرمزهایی که وجود دارد نه با همهی جنبههایش) و هم با جنگهایی که در دنیا درگرفتهاند. در این میان میتوان گفت که دو جنگ جهانی قرن بیستم از همه بیشتر شناخته شدهاند. شوایک را نیز از یک منظر میتوان روایتی از جنگ جهانی اول دانست. یاروسلاو هاشک که خود از نزدیک در این جنگ حضور داشته، با طنزی تلخ که هیچکس از زیر تیغ تیزش نمیتواند فرار کند به نقد از جنگ در درجهی اول، و اجتماع در دیدی وسیعتر دست میزند.
هر نویس
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Mine is a 1943 edition of this by Penguin Books. The pages are brittle so I wasn't able to dog-ear, but all the pages are intact. Sewn-up and not merely glued, only four pages were detached. As the war was ongoing then, its back cover advertises "Penguin Specials" with titles like: "Modern Battle," "American vs. Germans," "How Russia Prepared," "How the Jap Army Fights," "New Soldier's Handbook," "Aircraft Recognition," "New Ways of War," etc. Another recommended title is "Guerrilla Warfare" wit ...more
A simple Czech person Svejk became a soldier in Austro-Hungarian Army in the beginning of World War I. His way to become one was anything but straight: despite his wholehearted attempts to enlist the moment he heard about the war, he kept stumbling from one absurd situation into another ending up literally everywhere except for the Army. When he finally gets there, even more ridiculous situations keep happening to him thanks to the military life which defies common sense most of the time.

This is
I've been on a roll with my reading recently. Love having time off.

Anyways - it is often said that this novel was an inspiration for Catch-22. Like Catch-22, it is hilarious. Unfortunately, it tends to go on for a little too long, also like Catch-22.

The moralizing in the end does tend to break up the monotony. The book ends abruptly, but this is due to the author's unfortunate death. This also explains some 'unpolished' sections of the book.

Despite these flaws, it is still hilarious and very muc
'Las aventuras del bueno soldado Švejk' puede que sea el libro más divertido que he leído nunca y sin duda es la mejor parodia anti-bélica que he podido encontrar. El bueno de Švejk puede que sea un poco corto de entendederas, pero es un pozo sin fondo de anécdotas intrascendentes. Se mete siempre en unos líos demenciales, pero nunca a posta. Su mayor problema es que se lo toma todo al pie de la letra, es incapaz de entender un doble sentido o un sarcasmo, y cree ciegamente que la institución de ...more
I wanted to read this because I knew that Svejk was the forbear of one of the ur-texts of sad-eyed high school existentialists, namely, Catch-22. Joseph Heller said he could never have written his surreal epic without having read this WWI picaresque by Hasek. I thought I was going to love it, obviously. While perusing Svejk was interesting in a historical sense, unfortunately I ended up not finding it as enjoyable as I had hoped. Despite the many lavish descriptions of how to fight bureaucracy w ...more
This is the story of a simple soldier of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I. Throughout the first few chapters, Svejk seems like a harmless and naïve simpleton, the story reminding me of Candide, Voltaire’s version, however, coming more obviously out of an Enlightenment milieu, whereas Hasek’s version seems more like folk literature. How creatively Hasek develops this determines whether interest in the story can be maintained or whether the narrative becomes unimaginative and tedious. In ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
692. The Good Soldier Švejk, Jaroslav Hašek
زمان را کمی به عقب برمیگردانیم؛ سرباز«شوایک» دارد از دستشویی بیرون میآید. حالا کمرش را سفت میکند و وارد جنگ اول جهانی میشود! شوایک درست هنگامی که درد روماتیسمش عود کرده و مشغول مالیدن پماد به پای پر موی خویش است تصمیمش را میگیرد، که خود را برای جنگ آماده کند، و تا جان در بدن دارد با دشمن ملتش، ملت اتریش که بالای سر مردمان چک است بجنگد. ولی نبرد او، نبرد نیزه با نیزه نیست. نبرد صداقت با خشونت است. خشونتی که ادعای دانایی دارد و کارهای بزرگ را در شأن خود م
It took me more than two years to finish this book. Had managed to get until half-way upon buying it, but couldn't get myself to continue. Basically, it's just more and more of the same. On the other hand, that "same" is also pretty damn good. And so, after two years of hesitation I decided to give its second half another chance and liked it. This novel has brilliant satiric comedy, crazy pictures and the highest amount of anecdotes I've ever come across. It's definitely flawed in some parts, wi ...more
My initial reaction to this book after reading the first few chapters is that it reminded me of Catch-22. Sure enough, after some research, I found out that Heller credits Hasek's work as one of his key influences. If you appreciate the biting satire, base humor, and no-holds-barred castigation of bureaucratic organizations in Catch-22, you love it in Svejk as well. Sveyk, the (seemingly) good-natured and dopey Dudley-Do-Right of the Czech contingent in the Austria-Hungarian army during WWI is a ...more
Vit Babenco
I've read The Good Soldier Švejk twice - once when I was still adolescent and second time when I was already an adult. I enjoyed it both times though quite differently.
I believe it is one of the first examples of postmodern novels full of delicious black humour.
“I really don't know why those loonies get so angry when they're kept there. You can crawl naked on the floor, howl like a jackal, rage and bite. If anyone did this anywhere on the promenade people would be astonished, but there it's the
From BBC Radio 4 - Classical Serial:
Dramatisation by Christopher Reason of the satirical Czech novel by Jaroslav Hasek that charts the exploits of a WWI soldier.

When he seems to celebrate the death of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Svejk is arrested and so starts his progress through the ranks of the Austro-Hungarian army.
If you like historical fiction written by contemporaries about recent events, like "All's Quiet on the Western Front," and that depict events from a new perspective - try out this hidden classic. If you don't often hear the German side of WWI in U.S. history classes, you also hear even less about the other losers like Austria-Hungary. This novel gives a great glimpse behind the scenes as the twilight years of the Hapsburgs unfold in this "first" of the Great Wars across Europe and the rest of th ...more
Andrew Walter
Vanek asked with interest: "How long do you think the war will go on, Svejk?" "Fifteen years," answered Svejk. "That's obvious because once there was a Thirty Years War and now we're twice as clever as they were before, so it follows that thirty divided by two is fifteen"

This is an unusually succinct quote from our good natured Good Soldier Svejk , who is normally given to interminable rambling anecdotes to illustrate his point (or sometimes seemingly just to pass the time), and it neatly sums
In my early teens, I read a number of World War II books like "Boldness Be my Friend", "Reach for the Sky", "The Great Escape", etc. By my mid teens, and as my grandfather had fought at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, my father encouraged me to read "All Quiet on the Western Front", which I followed up with "An Air Fighter's Scrapbook", and, after a while, "The Good Soldier Schweik" (as it was named in the earlier Penguin editions.)

Schweik's attitudes and behaviour were reminiscent of the la
gonk bukan pahlawan berwajah tampan
Dalam cerpennya yang kemudian dibukukan dalam kumpulan cerpen yang berjudul sama, Jl Asmaradana, Kuntowijoyo mengawali dengan menyinggung soal dua sisi menarik dari fragmen manusia, tragic sense of life dan comic sense of life. Tragic sense of life menganggap hidup sebagai sebuah tragedi, memandang dunia serba suram. Comic sense of life, menganggap hidup sebagai sebuah lelucon. Kira-kira begitu secara parsial saya mengingat-ingat paragraf awal cerpen tersebut.

Pembaca review yang budiman, *ehem.
за ці сімсот із хвостиком сторінок бравий вояк швейк так і не добрався до власне воювання, але гашекові для сатири вистачило й дороги, повної незручних пригод і веселих історій: у швейка, вочевидь, чудово працює асоціативне мислення, тому на кожну ситуацію він знаходить приклад із життя, більш чи менш (що трапляється частіше й немало вибішує всіх довкола, крім хіба читача) доречний. а сатира вийшла хороша, донині зрозуміла й актуальна – часом настільки, що аж трошки лячно робиться.
найцінніший у
Greg Deane
The Good Josef Švejk, the eponymous hero Jaroslav Hašek’s novel, successfully anticipates the aspirations of Joseph Heller’s Yossarian, having a certificate from army psychiatrists, vouching his idiocy. But like Yossarian he cannot escape the idiocy of the wartime the Austro-Hungarian empire and its army. He is an everyman helplessly shackled into byzantine regime that conscripts him. Yet he uses his assumed stupidity to be subversive without being politicized, feigning an enthusiasm to conform. ...more
شوایک در جاده ی پر برف شجاعانه پیش می رفت.خود را در پالتوی نظامیش پیچیده بود. به آخرین سرباز ناپلئون بعد از عقب نشینی روسیه شباهت داشت.با این تفاوت که او سرش را بالا گرفته بود و با شادی فراوان سرود می خاند
چندی گذشتیم از دره و کوه
از بیشه های سرسبز و انبوه
با قلب سرشار از عشق میهن
خود را رساندیم تا شهر دشمن

در میان سکوت شبانگاهی و عوعوی سگها،صدای شوایک در جنگل منعکس می شد.
سرباز دلیر ما پس از آنکه به قدر کافی سرود خاند،برای استراحت روی توده ی کودی که کنار جاده بود نشست و پیپش را روشن کرد و دوباره به
If you followed TV News too much and just need something anti-militaristic and hilarious at the same time - you've found the right book! Worthlessness and cruelty of a regime (literally - Austro-Hungarian one) towards its own people, fraud, corruption and queen of them all - the WAR. Year 1914. Josef Svejk, a dog seller, drafted into army to fight on a meaningless war, somehow knows a way around those things - he feigns idiocy. And it works! Especially when we get to see who is real idiots there ...more
This book is hilarious. I love Svejk. I wish I could have his attitude to life. There's a Svejk restaurant in Prague that's got images of Svejk on napkins, menus, etc. Stumbled across it one night when we were freezing cold and didn't have any more Czech money and the place we were going to eat didn't take credit cards. It was the only place around that was open and warm. Truly a Svejk moment.
Classic Czech humor, especially with regard to authority.
This is a very good book. I read it in the portuguese version. I don't know if in other languages it is as good as in the portuguese version, but it must be. Except, maybe, inuit. Becauase inuit is a very rare language, there aren't many eskimoo readers and it's hard to find good czech-inuit translators these days (southern groneland?) This book tells us about Svejk, a soldier in the I World War and it is very funny, it makes me laugh in the subway at peak hours when I read it, even the bits wit ...more
It was very interesting experience to reread "The Good Soldier Svejk", having read it for the first time roughly 10 years ago, in my schoolyears. I remember that at that time I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but I was in doubt of how I would re-estimate "The Good Soldier Svejk" now.
My doubts proved to be false. I really love the book, its tongue-in-cheek style and its folksy humour. Firstly, Hasek brilliantly uses hyperboles to make his characters more colourful and the idiocy of the bureaucratic
Over the past 40 year, I have read Svejk four times - three different translations- always extraordinary. This book which appears on several lists of best 100 books in world literature, is hilariously funny and satirizes war, government and people caught up in both. The first two lines set the tone:
"So they shot our Ferdinand"
"Which Ferdinand, I know two."
Of course, it is Archduke Ferdinand and WWI is about to commence, but Svejk, aloft from the world goes on to describe two scoundrels he knows
Žydrūnas Jonušas
Na va, gan greitai įveikiau Šveiką. Nors žodis "įveikiau" čia tikriausiai nelabai tinka. Aš jį tiesiog surijau :) skaičiau knygos paskutinį leidimą (2010m. "Tyto alba"), vertė Almis Grybauskas. Vertėjas už šį vertimą atrodo 2000m. gavo Lietuvos vertėjų apdovanojimą už geriausią metų vertimą. Na ir kūrinys tikrai įspūdingas - daug absurdo, juodo humoro, vietomis net banalių nešvankių juokelių, bet viską pateisina gera pozityvumo, optimizmo prizmė: į viską kūrinyje žvelgiama pro rožinius, vietomis ...more
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Catching up on Cl...: The Good Soldier Svejk 1 22 Jul 07, 2012 10:35AM  
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Jaroslav Hašek (April 30, 1883 – January 3, 1923) was a Czech humorist, satirist, writer and anarchist best known for his novel "The Good Soldier Švejk" (Czech: Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války), an unfinished collection of farcical incidents about a soldier in World War I and a satire on the ineptitude of authority figures, which has been translated into sixty languages. He also wrote ...more
More about Jaroslav Hašek...

Other Books in the Series

Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války (6 books)
  • Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války, 1. díl – V zázemí
  • The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Svejk During the World War, Book Two
  • The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Svejk During the World War, Book(s) Three & Four
  • Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války, 4. díl – Pokračování slavného výprasku
  • Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války 1. a 2. díl

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“Jesus Christ was innocent too,' said Svejk, 'and all the same they crucified him. No one anywhere has ever worried about a man being innocent. Maul halten und weiter dienen ['Grin and bear it and get on with the job'] - as they used to tell us in the army. That's the best and finest thing of all.” 20 likes
“After debauches and orgies there always follows the moral hangover.” 19 likes
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