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Letters from the Grey Zone

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  • 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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Diary entry for 5. December 2005, To the Castle and Back

„In short, Being has a memory. And thus even my insignificance – as a bourgeois child, a laboratory assistant, a soldier, a stagehand, a playwright, a dissident, a prisoner, a president, a pensioner, a public phenomenon, and a hermit, an alleged hero but secretly a bundle of nerves – will remain here for ever, or rather not here, but somewhere. But not, however, elsewhere. Somewhere here.“

Václav Havel:
Diary entry for 5. December 2005, To the Castle and Back, 2006

What Price Human Rights?