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Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century

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4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  661 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Told in an informal, mesmerizing voice, Ouredník represents the
twentieth century in all its contradictions and grand illusions,
demonstrating that nothing substantial has changed between 1900 and
1999—humanity is still hopeful for the future and still mired in
age-old conflicts. As he demonstrates that nothing can be reduced to a
single, true viewpoint, Ouredník mixes hard fac
...more
Paperback, 138 pages
Published April 17th 2005 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Riku Sayuj

It is hard to put a finger on what this book tries to do but it does something important. It narrates history in a detached way without giving any undue importance to the 'major' events.

It is one of those rare instances when its brevity is the greatest strength of a historical narrative. It is not that it lacks in detail, don't get me wrong here. It does go on about how people did things to each other and developed theories about each other, about how people and nations thought and acted, about
...more
Justin Evans
Most 'experimental' literature fails, just as most scientific experiments fail to produce important data, and most experiments in the kitchen or even bedroom fail to spice up one's life. This doesn't keep anyone from trying again and again, just in case this time is the time.

Well, Europeana is the time. Ourednik avoids every possible literary characteristic--no characters, no plot, no personal investment, no meditating, an absolutely minimal narrator--while somehow providing, nonetheless, all t
...more
Fahad
أوروبيانا، مختصر تاريخ القرن العشرين

تعجبني الكتب التاريخية الهامشية، والتي لا تتنطح لرواية التاريخ بطوله وعرضه، وإنما تركز على زاويا صغيرة مهملة، وتحاول إظهار التغيرات الصغيرة التي كانت وراء أحداث تاريخية أو سببتها، وهذا الكتاب يحاول أن يفعل ذلك، وقد بذل المؤرخ التشيكي باتريك أورشادنيك فيه جهداً جيداً، ولكن عابت الكتاب لخبطة في ترتيب الصفحات، بحيث تشعر بانقطاعات في السرد.
Pooya Kiani
کتاب، کتاب خوبی بود. ترجمه رسا و روان، کاغذ و طرح جلد جذاب بود. خردهفرمایشهای نیچهوار و نیشخندهای تلخش به دل مینشست. گروتسکها و همنشینی ها و همزمانی ها و همزبانی های کمیک و تلخِ انسان ها در فاجعه سازی های تاریخی رو هم زیبا تصویر کرده بود. خیلی چیزها میشه از خوبی هاش نوشت اما، بزرگترین ایرادی که می شه بهش گرفت جز ارائه ندادن هیچ آلترناتیوی در روش نگرش به دنیا و اندیشه، این بود که مخاطب مشخصی نداشت. یه پاراگراف مخاطبش بچه دبیرستانی و پاراگراف بعدی آدمی مسلط به دریدا و مارکس و فروید بود. بیشتر از ه ...more
Hadrian
Short, strange, rambling, horribly depressing look at the 20th century. Fads, statistics, efficiency, religion, better worlds, genocide, human perfection, sexuality, dying languages, industrialization, the death of God.

Already familiar territory, but a strange and new presentation of the material.
mohsen pourramezani
ترجمهی اسم اصلی کتاب چیزی شبیه این است
A Brief History of the Twentieth Century
تاریخچه مختصری از قرن بیستم
و بیشتر اتفاقها مربوط به اروپا و امریکاست
نویسنده اطلاعات مختلفی از حوادث و اتفاقات قرن بیستم را به صورت پشت سرم ردیف میکند
بیشتر حوادث و اتفاقات مربوط به جنگ جهانی اول و دوم است و گاهی طنز کمرنگی در روایتهایش به کار میرود ولی بعضی از اتفاقها آنقدر دهشتناک هستند که به نظر میرسد واقعیت اغراقآمیز تر از طنزی است که به کار برده
در مجموع کتاب بدی نبود
گاهی برخی از موارد را چند بار تکرار میکرد و انسجا
...more
Jeremy
I wanted to love this. I really did. A detached voice recounting the horrors of the first half of the 20th century is like, my literary bread and butter.

While Ourednik's style is delightfully informal, and his ability to show linkages and disparities between different events has a really strong sense of ironic timing, this kind of feels like a re-hash of so much I've already read about this particular time and mood of modern history from writers with far more powerful, obsessive visions.

Sure,
...more
Jonathan
Conclusion: Human beings are ridiculous creatures.
Ben Loory
Feb 05, 2014 Ben Loory rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ben by: ken baumann
But other historians said that the twentieth century actually started earlier, that it began with the industrial revolution that disrupted the traditional world and that all this was the fault of locomotives and steamships. And yet others said that the twentieth century began when it was discovered that people come from apes and some people said they were less related to apes because they had developed more quickly. Then people started comparing languages and speculating about who had the most a ...more
MJ Nicholls
I'm not as drivellingly crazy about this as most Goodreaders seem to be, but it is a funny and horrifying little mini-history using Czech irony (such a thing exists) to make its impact.

The history isn't presented in any logical order. Some parts juxtapose others, such as the Holocaust next to Bill Clinton's (non-)affair, or Dadaism beside detailed parts on eugenics and so on. The tone is slightly childish, most sentences starting with "and then . . . " as though being narrated by a grownup to a
...more
verbava
ця історія двадцятого століття справді коротка, сумбурна і в деталях, як диявол. хороша, одне слово. а від того, як вільно автор поводиться із хронологічними шматками і як легко їх поєднує, вона ще й дуже цікава і місцями insightful.
скидається на те, що основним хобі людей двадцятого століття було вбивати одне одного й винаходити все нові й усе цікавіші способи одне одного вбивати. ще, звісно, боротися за якісь права, але то найчастіше якраз для того, щоб вас не вбили. і тому логічно, що оуржедн
...more
Gabriel
Inside, Ourednik has put together, in page-long sections, capsule histories of the progress of events in Europe in the 20th century. These capsule histories are not randomly assembled, but neither are they sequential or otherwise "logically" structured (i.e., the structure itself is what differentiates this from capital-H History).

The most interesting thing here is the book's classification as "Fiction." If the structure is what keeps it from being History, is it Ourednik's selection of events
...more
Ondřej Koch
Europeana čtenářům zábavnou a ironickou formou přibližují dějiny dvacátého století. Ouředník si s nimi neuvěřitelně hraje, občas mele páté přes deváté, skáče ze začátku století na jeho konec, jen aby čtenáři ukázal, kterak lidstvo rádo opakuje své názory, činy a chyby. Knížkou po celou dobu prostupuje několik témat ("… a pak zastřelili vojáka, který…"), hodně prostoru je věnováno holocaustu a druhé válce obecně, a slibuju vám, že jakmile se na stránce objeví slovo "psychoanalýza", máte o zábavu ...more
Marysya
Якщо ви любите книжки стандартного типу – з головними героями, початком, серединою та кінцем оповіді, то ця книжка вам точно буде не до вподоби. На перший погляд, це дуже дивний текст, нестандартний, але оригінальний. Відповідно до автора жанром книжки є експериментальна проза, де факти переплітаються з стереотипами та вигадками, а сам текст пронизаний іронією, гумором та навіть холоднокровністю. Перед нами постає ХХ століття у вирі двох світових воєн, трагедії геноциду, зміни політичних та релі ...more
Bookaholic
Patrik Ouředník, prozator, traducător și eseist ceh stabilit în Franța, publică în 2001 o carte mai puțin obișnuită, în care forțează granița dintre genurile literare. Este vorba despre volumul Europeana. O scurtă istorie a secolului douăzeci, apărut la noi în 2014, la Editura Vremea, în traducerea Hellianei Ianculescu, un volum, cum spuneam, atipic. După titlu, s-ar putea presupune că ar fi vorba despre o carte de istorie. Poate fi, ce-i drept, considerată, fără a greși, o carte despre istoria ...more
Procyon Lotor
Hail to Fukuyama! La Preistoria e l'inizio della Storia sono oscure. Documenti assenti o scarsissimi, inferiori alle suppellettili, grande presenza del Mito. Spesso un evento ci noto attraverso un solo scritto, magari del vincitore. Poi bene o male (dopo secoli di mazzo e lavoro matto e disperatissimo degli storici) si capisce molto bene quasi tutto. La revisione evento sporadico. Le querelle rare e i capisaldi di conseguenza stabili. Poi c' l'altro ieri. Documenti in quantit impressionanti, p ...more
Jozef Kuric
Hoci Ouředníkova kniha vyšla pôvodne v roku 2001, jeho úvahy majú veľmi aktuálny presah aj do aktuálnej súčasnosti. Vo svojom texte na mnohých miestach poukázal na manipuláciu s dejinami, ktorá mala ďalekosiahly dosah aj na budúcnosť mnohých národov. Táto manipulácia je žiaľ signifikantná aj pre dnešné geopolitické reálie. Opäť sa najmä vo východoeurópskom priestore sprosto manipuluje s dejinami, pričom vôbec nejde o nejaké mytologické legendy stepných kočovných národov, ale o európsku históriu ...more
Joey
compelling, sardonic, and devastating. a short novel expressing a non-linear history of the industrialized world in the twentieth century. fictionally fictional.
Orde
This short book reads like one long list of weird statistical facts interwoven with very brief and mostly rather ridiculous or eerie anecdotes. There's no chronological order but it's all being hold together by the time frame of the twentieth century. Neither is there a topical specification but it skips back and forth between war-related, cultural, sociological and political snapshots without caring for how representational they would be nor trying to explain them. Thus there's the story about ...more
Tobias
A short, artful "alien's-eye view" telling of the history of twentieth century in all its madness.
Neil Godfrey
Just about every other sentence begins with "And." And I liked it!
Matt Comito
I'm going to take a shot at this (excuse me)

so the project seems to be (because it is rambling and repetitive (and that's absolutely! part of the point) to summarize repeatedly through the most general of terms all of the political and sociological and historical and philosophical....

and the horrification (and it really is horrifying) is the way that (almost) each utopian impulse leads inevitably to....

in summary we suck/are fucked

but wait a minute! I think I do note...


(not finished but will be
...more
Kobe Bryant
Mostly depressing WW2 factoids
Siv30
לפעמים כשהחיילים ארבו בלילות לאויב, הם שמעו אותו מתגרד, ולפי זה הם גילו איפה הוא מסתתר וירו וזרקו רימונים לעברו. אבל הכינים לא התמעטו וגם האויבים לא." (15)



לסכם ספר שב- 155 עמודים קצרים ודחוסים מתאר את עלייתה ונפילתה של המאה ה- 20, תהיה יומרנות ואפילו גם חוצפה. ברור לי שסיכום כזה, אם נכתב, חוטא ליכולות הגאוניות של הסופר, לקחת אירועים שנראים תלושים ולא קשורים לא בקונטקסט ולא במרחב והזמן, להניח אותם יחד וליצור בינהם חיבור הגיוני.



הספר "אירופיאנה" כאמור על כריכתו, הוא קיצור תולדות המאה ה- 20. התולדות
...more
Sasha
i read on i think blake butler's blog that someone told him you could open this book up to any page, and it would be fucking perfect.
that's a paraphrase. i think the guy from dalkey said he'd give it to him,
but again, i may be wrong
but what is not wrong is that statement.
i was moved in ways i didn't know i could be moved during this book
not large ways, but odd ways. ways i was not expecting. there is very little in this book that you can expect. there is very little in this world we can expect,
...more
Ben
And during the Second World War, physicists reappraised the theory of relativity and mathematicians invented the theory of information, which was innovative because it ignored the semantic field and conceived of information as something that was unrelated to meaning. And some mathematicians and astrophysicists said that information was one of the constitutive components of the universe and the organization of the universe was the result of the converse relationship between energy and information ...more
Will
"Po prvni svetove valce se zacaly stavet pomniky padlym vojakum, aby se na ne nezapomnelo. Historikove rikali, ze pomniky padlym vojakum existovaly uz pred prvni svetovou valkou, ale teprve ve dvacatych letech se v zapadni civilizaci staly univerzalne sdilenym symbolem pameti, a sochari a kamenici byli radi, ze maji hodne zakazek. Pomniky padlym se vetsinou stavely ve forme stely nebo obelisku. Nahore byl kohout nebo svaty Jiri nebo orlice, podle toho, jake byli padli vojaci narodnosti, uprostre ...more
Malcolm
I really like this. It is packaged and labelled fiction but it as much an essay in historiography as anything else – but don't let that put you off. One of the most compelling things about the book is the way Ouřednik juxtaposes related but normally unconnected events and things, and in doing so urges us to see the great events, tragedies mainly, of the 20th century as linked, related, and part of a bigger pattern (although he does have a bit of a tendency to equate the Soviet Union's Communism ...more
T Fool
It's odd to call this a novel. It is a kind of sardonic history, the 20th Century in all its blood splotches, men and women technologically more adept but still voyaging on a spaceship of fools.

Ourednik deposits events and ideas and movements like swirls of cookie dough, next next next, judging none, ostensibly, but whose irony of placement reveals a cosmic joke.

I'll have to return to Kafka, the author publishers seem to hear in Ourednik's words, since no translation of Kafka I've seen has made
...more
Karen
What were the beliefs that drove behavior in 20th century Europe? This book, written almost in a gee whiz, can-you-believe-it, stream-of-consciousness style, catalogs all of the crazy things human beings believed during the last century. The book provides a basis for understanding subsequent behavior generated by those beliefs. For example, this is the first text I've ever read that gives a plausible explanation for how the Nazis were able to get a whole nation of Germans to behave the way they ...more
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1136412
The writer, translator and essayist Patrik Ouředník was born in Prague on 23 April 1957. After finishing his basic education he worked as an assistant in a bookshop, an assistant archivist, warehouseman, postman, labourer and ambulance man. From 1974 to 1976 he studied acting and directing at a People’s Art School in Prague. In 1985 he emigrated to France. He translates from French into Czech (Rab ...more
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“Some historians subsequently said that the twentieth century actually started in 1914, when war broke out, because it was first war in history in which so many countries took part, in which so many people died and in which airships and airplanes flew and bombarded the rear and towns and civilians, and submarines sunk ships and artillery could lob shells ten or twelve kilometers. And the Germans invented gas and the English invented tanks and scientists discovered isotopes and general theory of relativity, according to which nothing was metaphysical, but relative.And when Senegalese fusiliers first saw an airplane they thought it was a tame bird and one of the Senegalese soldiers cut a lump of flesh from a dead horse and threw it as far as he could in order to lure it away. And airships and airplanes flew through the sky and the horses were terribly frightened. And writers and poets endeavored to find new ways of expressing it best and in 1916 they invented Dadaism because everything seemed crazy to them. And in Russia they invented a revolution. And the soldiers wore around their neck or wrist a tag with their name and the number of their regiment to indicate who was who, and where to send a telegram of condolences, but if the explosion tore off their head or arm and the tag was lost, the military command would announce that they were unknown soldiers, and in most capital cities they instituted an eternal flame lest they be forgotten, because fire preserves the memory of something long past. And the fallen French measured 2,681 kilometers, the fallen English 1,547 kilometers, and the fallen Germans, 3,010 kilometers, taking the average legth of a corpse as 172 centimeters. And a total of 15, 508 kilometers of soldiers fell worldwide. And in 1918 an influenza known as Spanish Flu spread throughout the world killing over twenty million people. Pacifists and anti-militarists subsequently said that these had also been victims of the war because the soldiers and civilian populations lived in poor conditions of hygiene, but epidemiologists said that the disease killed more people in countries where there was no war, such as Oceania, India or the United States, and the Anarchists said that it was a good thing because the world was corrupt and heading for destruction.” 4 likes
“Historians concluded that in the twentieth century about sixty genocides had occurred in the world, but not all of them entered historical memory. Historians said that historical memory was not part of history and memory was shifted from the historical to the psychological sphere, and this instituted a new mode of memory whereby it was no longer a question of memory of events but memory of memory.” 4 likes
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