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Václav Havel: From Playwright and Dissident to President – a Slovenian View (14. 6. 2016)

Prof. Denis Poniž, a Slovenian literary historian and playwright, and Prof. Katja Mihurko Poniž, a literary historian, will trace Slovenian audiences’ encounters with Havel from the first performance of The Memorandum in 1969, when the “normalisation” period had already begun. The performance and interpretation of his plays in Communist-era Slovenia was linked to Slovenia’s (and Yugoslavia’s) own political perturbations, thus creating parallels as well as differences. What does Havel as a playwright have to say to the societies of Central Europe today, in an artistic as well as in a wider political sense? Alongside his dramatic works, the discussion will focus on the reception of his essays, documents linked to his time as a dissident and all other materials touching on his connections with Slovene culture. The lecture (in English), will be accompanied by readings (in Slovenian) of passages from Slovenian translations of Havel’s works, read by Nataša Burger, and video clips from productions of Havel’s work at Slovenian theatres. A summary in Czech will be available, courtesy of the Slovenian Lectureship at Charles University. The evening will be introduced by Jáchym Topol. The event is supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Prague in homage to the 80th anniversary of the birth of Václav Havel.

„Můj liknavý vztah ke studiu Kafkova díla vychází z z nejasného dojmu, že nemusím všechno opakovaně z Kafky číst, protože beztak vím, co v jeho díle mohu nalézt… Jsem dokonce v skrytu duše přesvědčen, že kdyby Kafka neexistoval a já uměl psát lépe, než umím, napsal bych celé jeho dílo já.“

Václav Havel:
Řeč při předávání čestného doktorátu Hebrejské univerzity, Jeruzalém, 26. duben 1990