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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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Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„So-called contradictions between different schools of thought do not bother me in the least, and it doesn’t seem at all perverse to conduct oneself quite “situationally” in that regard. If a certain term, or terminology or theory seems apt in a given situation or context, I have no compunctions whatsoever about exploiting it to the full ( and I don’t mind if it makes me seem like an epigone). At the same time, however, I don’t feel the least bit bound by any “allegiance”.“

Václav Havel:
Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter, May 1, 1981

What Price Human Rights?