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The mystifications of a nation : "the potato bug" and other essays on Czech culture

Author: Vladimír Macura; Hana Píchová; Craig Stephen Cravens
Publisher: Madison, Wis. : University of Wisconsin Press, ©2010.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : Essay : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
A keen observer of culture, Czech writer Vladimír Macura (1945-99) devoted a lifetime to illuminating the myths that defined his nation. The Mystifications of a Nation, the first book-length translation of Macura's work in English, offers essays deftly analyzing a variety of cultural phenomena that originate, Macura argues, in the "big bang" of the nineteenth-century Czech National Revival, with its celebration of  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Macura, Vladimír, 1945-1999.
Mystifications of a nation.
Madison, Wis. : University of Wisconsin Press, ©2010
(DLC) 2010011537
(OCoLC)580120162
Material Type: Document, Government publication, State or province government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Vladimír Macura; Hana Píchová; Craig Stephen Cravens
ISBN: 9780299248932 0299248933 1282916432 9781282916432
OCLC Number: 699513578
Language Note: Translated from the Czech.
Description: 1 online resource (xxvi, 139 pages) : illustrations
Contents: pt. 1. The nineteenth century : genesis of a nation --
pt. 2. The joyous age : reflections on Czechoslovak communism.
Responsibility: Vladimír Macura ; translated and edited by Hana Píchová and Craig Cravens.

Abstract:

A keen observer of culture, Czech writer Vladimír Macura (1945-99) devoted a lifetime to illuminating the myths that defined his nation. The Mystifications of a Nation, the first book-length translation of Macura's work in English, offers essays deftly analyzing a variety of cultural phenomena that originate, Macura argues, in the "big bang" of the nineteenth-century Czech National Revival, with its celebration of a uniquely Czech identity. In reflections on two centuries of Czech history, he ponders the symbolism in daily life. Bridges, for example-once a force of civilization connecting diverse peoples-became a sign of destruction in World War I. Turning to the Soviet and post-Soviet eras, Macura probes a range of richly symbolic practices, from the naming of the Prague metro system, to the mass gymnastic displays of the Communist period, to post-Velvet Revolution preoccupations with the national anthem. In "The Potato Bug," he muses on one of the stranger moments in the Cold War-the claim that the United States was deliberately dropping insects from airplanes to wreak havoc on the crops of Czechoslovakia. While attending to the distinctively Czech elements of such phenomena, Macura reveals the larger patterns of Soviet-brand socialism. "We were its cocreators," he declares, "and its analysis touches us as a scalpel turned on its own body." Writing with erudition, irony, and wit, Macura turns the scalpel on the authoritarian state around him, demythologizing its mythology.

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While the essays in this volume are rather brief, they always present food for thought. Sometimes brilliant and often funny, they should be read, and not only by experts. European History Quarterly" Read more...

 
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