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Letters from the Grey Zone

Illustration
  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: March 20, 2017, 19:00 – 21:00

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.

This publication, produced by publishing house Sociologického nakladatelství (SLON), will be presented by participants in the correspondence, while Miroslav Paulíček, Ivan Gabal and Petra Guasti will offer their perspectives on the period and legacy of Miloslav Petrusek.

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A Word about Words – samizdat essay

„The point I am trying to make is that words are a mysterious, ambiguous, ambivalent and perfidious phenomenon. They can be rays of light in a realm of darkness, as Belinsky once described Ostrovsky’s Storm. They can also be lethal arrows. Worst or all, at times they can be one or the other. They can even be both at once!“

Václav Havel:
A Word about Words – samizdat essay, July 25, 1989

Havel—Prigov and czech experimental poetry