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PHOTO: Letters from the Grey Zone  22/03/17

The book Ale snad i pro toto jsme žili, ne? (But that’s surely also what we lived for, is it not?) features the personal correspondence of well-known sociologists Miloslav Petrusek (1936–2012) and Martin Bútora in the period when they were in academic exile. It is enhanced by the letters of their wives, the sociologists Alena Miltová and Zora Bútorová. In this intimate record of one corner of the Czechoslovak intellectual milieu, specifically the sociological one, two languages and four narrators alternate, while it also includes substantial essays, travel sketches and mini-reviews, as well as excerpts from the period press and photographs. More

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PHOTO: Jan Patočka: Philosophy and Action  20/03/17

Jan Patočka began working on his private seminar “Plato and Europe” in autumn 1973. He characterised philosophy as internal conduct. “The situation of man,” he told his students at a Prague apartment against a backdrop of culminating normalisation, “changes once we become aware of it. The situation is utterly different, depending on whether people who are in distress surrender or don’t surrender.” Speaking at this seminar marking the 40th anniversary of the death and the 110th anniversary of the birthday Jan Patočka, one of the first spokespeople of Charter 77, were people who were present at that time: Ivan Chvatík, head of the Jan Patočka Archive; Charles University philosophy professor Miroslav Petříček; Jaromír Kučera, philosophy teacher at the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague; and Jiří Michálek, who teaches philosophy at Charles University’s Faculty of Science, Markéta Bendová, a postgraduate student at Charles University’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. More

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PHOTO: The Prague Acropolis  08/03/17

Jože Plečnik came to Prague at the invitation of Jan Kotěra and taught at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design. At that time he was regarded as the most important Slavic architect, so it little wonder that President Masaryk chose him to renovate Prague Castle. Plečnik’s task was to turn a symbol of feudal power into a symbol of the new Czechoslovak state. In this way he became an architect of Czech (Czechoslovak) statehood, incorporating in his modifications to the castle’s courtyards and President Masaryk’s private quarters not only numerous humanist elements proclaimed as the values of the new republic, but also elements of Czech and Slovak folk heritage. He later made use of the experience he acquired in Prague in the changes he made to the Slovenian city of Ljubljana. Martin C. Putna discussed with two renowned experts on Plečnik’s work, Damjan Prelovšek and Tomáš Valena. More

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PHOTO: Arsemid  01/03/17

Ivan M. Havel wrote the novel Arsemid exactly 60 years ago, though it was only published in book form in the 1990s. Who is Arsemid? There is no clear answer, though we could do worse than search for one in the spiritual zone somewhere between Franz Kafka, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ladislav Klíma and Christian Morgenstern. The author of the foreword Tomáš Vrba presented the third edition, which has been expanded to triple the length of the original. More

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PHOTO: A Step into the Dark Night  27/02/17

Sixty-seven years ago, on 25 February 1950 the Číhošť parish priest Josef Toufar was murdered by StB officers. A story filled with disturbing questions and dramatic circumstances, in recent years it has returned as a compelling testimony. Who was Josef Toufar and who were his torturers? What can the Vysočina country priest tell today’s world? And what was president Gottwald’s role in that monstrous charade? Miloš Doležal, the author of books focused on Toufar, Jana Franková and Jiří Hromada read from new texts and documents, while Štěpán Drtina provided musical accompaniment on cello. Historian Tomáš Petráček discussed the context and interpretations of the story.  More

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28/03/17 19:00

Where Next for the Print Media? Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00

Meeting with the winners of this year’s prestigious Ferdinand Peroutka Prize: the creator of the TV show Historie.cs, Vladimír Kučera, and Petr Honzejk, a commentator with Hospodářské noviny. Alongside Petr Pithart, a former Czech prime minister and long-time chairman of the Czech Senate, and Pavel Fischer, a former Czech ambassador to France, the two winners will discuss the present and possible future of print media. More

Havel—Prigov and czech experimental poetry